A Tale of Two Tax Deals

Airbnb has managed to procure sweetheart tax agreements in counties all over Florida.

Brevard, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Desoto, Dixie, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades, Hamilton, Hendry, Hernando, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lee, Levy, Madison, Okeechobee, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, Sumter, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington, to be exact.

But who’s counting?

Now, Escambia and Santa Rosa counties are now struggling with whether or not to work out similar deals.

Unfortunately, Santa Rosa County might be falling for Airbnb’s tricks. According to the Pensacola News Journal, “Administrator Tony Gomillion said the proposal will save the county time and money because county employees will no longer have to monitor area Airbnb listings to make sure owners are collecting taxes.”

If Airbnb’s actions have shown us anything, it’s that they’re not such reliable partners when they tell cities to just “trust us.”

Luckily, Betsy Wooten, of the Escambia County Clerk of Court’s office, sees things a little more clearly.

She argues that Airbnb “would submit area bed taxes in bulk and would not allow the county to analyze data about specific rentals.”

And as we know all too well, Airbnb isn’t known for sharing reliable data.

“We declined to sign because we report the taxes to the public by individual ZIP codes. Under the Airbnb proposal, we would not know where the money comes from. There would be a lump sum that would come from Airbnb,” Wooten said.

No questions, one lump sum, no transparency – just how Airbnb likes it.