55 Replies Latest reply: Nov 28, 2018 1:16 PM by ashevillelookout RSS

    florida tax collections

    jeffford Contributor

      Regarding the email received today about HA now collecting and remitting Florida lodging tax?

       

      1.  Is Florida requiring this?

      If not and it's being done as a service thanks but no thanks because I still have to file a monthly Florida lodging tax.  So a service that doesn't save any work has no value.

       

      2.  Is HA collecting lodging tax for Florida counties?

      Because the tax collection percentage I set on my tax management page includes the county tax.

        • Re: florida tax collections
          thedrams5 Contributor

          We just got the notification too and will have questions.

           

          I guess my biggest gripe is they get to keep the Collection Allowance which is about $14-$20. I prefer that they offer it as an optional service instead of mandatory service. Will we get receipts that our taxes were paid? Will we have to file paperwork regarding these taxes?

          • Re: florida tax collections
            sward6880 Contributor

            I wondered if the e mail was a scam as no mention was made of this at the Summit last weekend in Austin

             

            Its a total pain to have HA remit state taxes and we have to remit county taxes and note that if there is more than one payment to entire tax is collected with the first payment ....   what if the traveler cancels ?

             

            This is bad news it seems to me

            • Re: florida tax collections
              kmcbhense Contributor

              There has to be a financial reason for VRBO to do be doing it or this wouldn't be happening. Yes we still have to file our monthly reports. And we still also have to file our seperate county taxes. Its going to be a nightmare, because some florida counties have the state collect there tax for them, as some counties you have to file separately. VRBO will absolutely screw this up!  I am absolutely most concerned that VRBO will not furnish individual proof of the taxes being paid to us. I'll guarantee we will all be getting frequent letters from the State of Florida asking for verifications.

                • Re: florida tax collections
                  sward6880 Contributor

                  1.  Is there any way to opt out ?

                  2.  What happens on a guest cancellation given the full amount of tax is paid on the total rental with a reservation deposit ?

                  3.  Our rentals are in Osceola County.   So we collect and remit local sales tax with a paper return ?

                  4.  The State tax collection for Properties in Osceola county is 7.5%.  Given this includes a so called discretionary tax of 1.5% payable to the County how will this reach the County If HA makes a return without informing the State of the amount due to the County.?

                   

                   

                • Re: florida tax collections
                  greggt Senior Contributor

                  Is HA still going to leave the line item intact for taxes so we can still collect city and TDC taxes? If not, what a nightmare!!!!

                  As it was already said, there must be some financial incentive for HA to go this route other than just another way of making life difficult for those of us that use HA/VRBO to promote our vacation rental.

                    • Re: florida tax collections
                      jeffford Contributor

                      I think there are a couple of financial incentives for HA.  As mentioned above they will be keeping the .025% collection allowance, which will represent a significant amount of money given the amount of money they will be collecting and 2., They are collecting all of the tax for the whole rental with the first payment and only remitting half of it (assuming 2 payments).  So they will have millions of dollars floating.

                       

                      I spoke with a HA customer service rep yesterday who told me what a wonderful benefit this was for me.  Sounds like the service fee bit all over again.

                       

                      He said that they will be collecting and remitting all Florida counties under their master account and that there would be no need for us to file returns any longer.

                      He is of course assuming that none of us rent our properties through any other outlet.

                       

                      It would be very nice for the moderator of this discussion board to provide some clarification.

                        • Re: florida tax collections
                          greggt Senior Contributor

                          Wonderful benefit??? They really must be guzzling the Koolaid!

                          If we have a Florida Tax account, we still have to file a report with the state monthly!

                          Still no word about our county tax that Florida collects, then the city tax which is collected separately, and the TDC tax.

                          It really sounds like a load of incomplete, misinformation that is going to get some of us in trouble with the various taxing authorities.

                      • Re: florida tax collections
                        tikihousepensacola Contributor

                        Absolutely correct.  I service with no value is not a service, but an imposition. 

                        • Re: florida tax collections
                          kmcbhense Contributor

                          I called in to CS. Had a decent conversation with the rep, he actually did tell me the percentages for each of the 2 counties that we have properties in, and the correct amounts for State, County, and Tourism tax for each. I was surprised that they had it correct.

                          He also emailed me the following below. Please take note, on this as I Have some very serious concerns after reading this. The taxes that are paid are NOT specific to your property. VRBO just basically sends one big check to the State or County for all properties.

                           

                           

                           

                          Thank you for contacting HomeAway Customer Support.

                           


                          For transactions booked and paid on the HomeAway platform (HomeAway.com, VRBO.com, VR.com), HomeAway will identify the amount of tax that HomeAway has collected and will remit to the jurisdiction. This tax is remitted on a tax return filed with the applicable jurisdiction under the taxpayer account of HomeAway.com, Inc. Your name, or your company name, address, and other details specific to your property will not be identified on the return filing because the tax information is provided in an aggregate manner. However, the transaction details may be available to the taxing jurisdiction upon inquiry or audit.

                          For jurisdictions where HomeAway has an agreement with the tax authority or is otherwise required to collect and remit lodging tax, you cannot choose to opt-out. For transactions booked and paid on the HomeAway platform in these jurisdictions, you are no longer responsible for the specific tax indicated by HomeAway and the jurisdiction will look to HomeAway as the responsible party.

                          You remain responsible for collecting and remitting tax on transactions that are not booked and paid through HomeAway. Please refer to the payment download report to identify the bookings where taxes were collected/remitted by HomeAway.

                            • Re: florida tax collections
                              jeffford Contributor

                              Thanks for this info.

                               

                              It sounds like a lot of work on their part for .025% collection fee and the arbitrage they will earn by charging the guests all the tax up front and holding it until the final payment is made.  Which, as an aside, doesn't sound exactly legal.

                               

                              Anybody smell a "Tax Servicing Fee" in your future?

                            • Re: florida tax collections
                              feibus CommunityAmbassador

                              Info on where they're collecting:

                              https://help.homeaway.com/articles/What-Stay-Taxes-Lodging-Taxes-does-HomeAway-collect-and-remit?utm_campaign=VRBO_FPM_45399_REL_LEG_LIVE_1809&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Adhoc&haExternalSourceId=2f1a1bf0822e4aebb48b723bd2e8f4a1

                               

                              Interesting that I'm in Florida, but have not yet received any e-mail about this.  So maybe it's just certain counties and otherwise the amount is sent to the partner to remit?  Not clear.

                                • Re: florida tax collections
                                  floridarob Contributor

                                  Exactly what taxes will be collected when?

                                   

                                  Florida has a long history of owners literally losing their homes over tax leins because property managers failed to remit taxes on their behalf. When the tax man came a'calling the PM was long gone, and the owners were left responsible for unremitted taxes. Many owners have learned a hard lesson to never let ANYONE else file and remit taxes on their behalf.

                                   

                                  So how much tax will be collected at what point in the booking process?  Guests are going to have to pay ALL State sales taxes on a reservation when the booking is made?  What sense does that make? When you have guests booking six months or a year in advance, are they supposed to also pay the State tax on the entire value of the booking, as has been suggested?  So a guest is supposed to hand over 6 or 7% of the total value of the booking, in addition to the percentage that HomeAway already forces upon us?

                                   

                                  Consider: I charge 20% of the value of the rental as a booking deposit. No taxes are paid until the balance is due 8 weeks before arrival. On a $1000 booking, the guest pays $200 as a booking deposit.

                                   

                                  But along comes HomeAway... to begin with, they won't allow me to charge a 20% deposit, it has to be 25% because... well who knows why, they just don't give me the bloody choice, but their deposit is 25% because that's what THEY say it has to be. NOW, they'll be collecting the state sales tax on the booking, in full, at time of booking? (I don't know this to be the case at this time, I am basing this on what other prior posters have stated above.) So add the 7.5% to the existing 25%, and you have a total of 32.5% being collected on a booking through HomeAway, for dates a year away. Compared to paying only 20% directly with me, and no service fee. Hmmm... I wonder which the guest will choose?

                                   

                                  In this scenario, HomeAway is presenting the guest with the only option of paying over SIXTY-TWO PERCENT MORE to book my property (32.5% is 62.5% more than 20%), and for what benefit to the guest? Absolutely nothing! What on earth are they (HomeAway) thinking?

                                   

                                  Now add to this inflated charge the 'Service Fee' that HomeAway charges guests to book my property. Let's go back to my $1000 booking example with real money.

                                   

                                  The guest could book my place directly for $200. Or they can book through HomeAway and NOW pay $325.00 + a $90.00 (?) Service Fee or a total of $415.00!!

                                   

                                  More than DOUBLE! HomeAway... what are you thinking?

                                   

                                  Can't you see how detrimental this is to YOUR OWN business?  Why would you want to chase our mutual customers away, by forcing them to pay MORE THAN TWICE AS MUCH to book my property as they can through other sources?  Don't you want to make money? Don't you want to get bookings?

                                   

                                  What advantage is there for HomeAway to be collecting and remitting state sales taxes in a jurisdiction that has been dealing with LEGAL vacation rentals for over 30 years? And what economic sense can it possibly make to be charging the full value of the sales taxes at time of booking (if that is indeed what will be happening)?

                                   

                                  And given that owners must continue to file and remit state sales taxes for bookings which they source elsewhere, and also for taxes for optional add-ons and extra services and/or fees (some of which are taxable and some of which aren't) which can't even be processed on your site, and endure added frustration, confusion, time and expense in accounting for the mess you are creating... WHY?

                                   

                                  What possible justification can there possibly be for such a stupid decision?  AirBnB has to do this in other jurisdictions to save their bacon because they have created thousands of unlicensed accommodations providers who operate under the radar with no oversight. So AirBnB offers to collect and remit taxes on bookings through their platform to satisfy the legitimate complaint that their 'hosts' are not collecting and remitting taxes. And by doing so, 'AirBnBs' don't get banned by local authorities. But this is NOT an issue for legitimately licensed vacation rental owners who have been operating for years under their own licenses in the most vacation rental friendly jurisdiction on the planet!

                                   

                                  What happens when you are collecting and remitting taxes during low season for a booking six months out during high season, and the taxes that I have collected that month myself are LESS than the taxes you are collecting on the booking six months out?!  Am I supposed to deduct the taxes you are remitting on my behalf from the amount that I am remitting myself?  And how will that work when it turns out to be a negative number?  Am I to receive a refund from the state of taxes overpaid? The state is going to want to do that? And will they deduct the small commission that HomeAway has already been paid for remitting the larger amount from the amount they will send me? If so, am I supposed to just eat that?

                                   

                                  And what happens to the ability to add a percentage tax to prices and bookings on the site?  Will that be taken away, as has been reported by other owners on this forum? So then what? How will I collect, receive and remit the local Tourist Development Taxes that I must charge for my local county? Are you going to take away my ability to add a percentage for this sales tax at the same time that you now start charging the State sales tax "on my behalf"? Are you going to dare to suggest that I build that tax into my prices and 'back it out' later on? Am I supposed to artificially increase my rates, making me appear less competitive against others in different counties with different tax rates?  Will the ability to specify a tax percentage remain on my listings or not? HomeAway, do you understand that it is against the law to include taxes in the sales price in Florida? The laws state that sales taxes must be shown on a separate line, in addition to the amount of the sale. They can not be 'backed out' of a total amount. Are you going to force all of your owners in Florida to now start breaking the law just to appear on your site?

                                   

                                  HomeAway, if this goes ahead, expect a loud amount of protest, and unfortunate 'final nails in the coffin' for many owners in dealing with you, as you have done nothing but made it just more and more impossible to do business with you. Some 'partner'. And expect customers to do what they continue to do more and more: Seek out ways to avoid booking with us through the site, because they don't want to pay inflated booking deposits where they needlessly say goodbye to their own money for months at time, to absolutely no benefit, and for many others (in addition) who use the site for research but avoid booking on it because they don't want to pay a 'service fee' which provides them with little (or as they see it, certainly not enough) benefit.

                                   

                                  HomeAway, I have no problem with you charging a service fee, and I have no problem with you making money. I have huge problems with you making my business more and more difficult, and chasing our mutual customers away from your platform, partly because you are simply failing to provide enough value.

                                   

                                  Here's an idea. Why don't you have Expedia collect and remit all sales taxes for the hotel operators you represent? Try that one on too. And see how it goes over!  If the obvious stupidity and unacceptability of that scenario is readily apparent, why is this situation any different?

                                    • Re: florida tax collections
                                      jeffford Contributor

                                      Thanks Floridarob.  Well put

                                      • Re: florida tax collections
                                        hill5185 CommunityAmbassador

                                        My apologies, but I found your logic confusing.

                                         

                                        The only justification for this is the ever evolving vacation rental industry and the economy driving the machine. I have faithfully collected and remitted state and county sales tax for 7years and never had an issue. This is not a HomeAway generated action the action is being determined by many state and local taxing authorities who have concluded they are "missing out" on non reported revenue. Our county initiated very strict protocols several years ago asking for people to turn in "non payers".  Florida isn't going to let one penny slip through their fingers. Unfortunately there are many properties circumventing the system by either not collecting or no remitting.

                                         

                                        I harbor no anger towards HA they act in accordance with what they have been forced to do. I can't imagine HA wants the headache of collecting and remitting taxes. Certainly there has been an entire department created to manage collections. (so I ask HA to step forward and send a clear message davidp_ha). Legal this and that and silence only feeds the monster. Waiting until the 11th hour to spring the details only fuels the suspicion.

                                         

                                         

                                         

                                        edited: is safe to think once HA is collecting and remitting the state tax the state will report to counties? It's been mentioned there is not a unique identifier just a lump sum owed for collection,,,,

                                      • Re: florida tax collections
                                        jeffford Contributor

                                        The customer service rep I spoke with said that this list is outdated and that they will be collecting for all Florida counties.  I have no idea if that is true or not.  My properties are in Nassau County, which is not on the list.  I intend to call Nassau County tomorrow and find out.  I'll report back.

                                        • Re: florida tax collections
                                          hill5185 CommunityAmbassador

                                          I have received nothing about a "state wide" change in the collection process and interestingly enough the brief phone call I just completed with a State DOR rep didn't have anything to offer either.

                                           

                                          So what happens to the taxes already collected for the many bookings I've already secured prior to the Dec 1 change? Inquiring minds really need to know davidp_ha. I'm not protesting I file and pay my taxes monthly for the county and state - just need to know how to adjust my listing and communicate effectively.

                                           

                                          *Brevard County

                                            • Re: florida tax collections
                                              margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                              hill5185 The taxes you have already collected should be remitted when due just as any taxes collect outside of platforms that are handling tax. ABB collects tax for my state, I take bookings from multiple sources. The taxes collected by ABB are paid in a lump sum to the state, all other taxes collected for bookings outside of ABB, I submit as usual. If HA is not submitting for your county, you will also want to continue collecting and remitting those taxes. In this is the case, you will have to make clear in your listing and again in your first response to guests that you will be issuing a payment request to collect the additional tax or add the tax into your nightly rate.

                                          • Re: florida tax collections
                                            sward6880 Contributor

                                            I just e mailed a contact at the Florida DOR and asked several questions including whether collection of State sales Tax is mandatory on HA

                                            Will post again once I receive a response

                                            • Re: florida tax collections
                                              kmcbhense Contributor

                                              With all of our unanswered questions in regards to Florida Taxes, wouldn't it be nice if someone from VRBO actually got on here and detailed whats going on for us.

                                              • Re: florida tax collections
                                                18oceanplace Contributor

                                                Since Friday I have been give 3 answers by HomeAway. First on the phone (premier partner support) I was told, "Since we don't have an agreement with your county we aren't remitting any of your taxes, nothing changes."

                                                 

                                                Then a follow up email says, "Sorry, we are actually collecting and remitting state tax, but not for your county."

                                                 

                                                Then I get another follow up email says, "Sorry, that was wrong. We're collecting and remitting both state and county taxes."

                                                 

                                                I'm at my wits end! We really need the correct information.

                                                • Re: florida tax collections
                                                  feibus CommunityAmbassador

                                                  I still haven't gotten the e-mail, but here's what I think is happening:

                                                   

                                                  As of Dec 1, HA will collect state + discretionary taxes for ALL counties in Florida.  NOT the local county taxes you also pay... UNLESS it's one of the four counties with which HA already had an agreement to collect taxes (Lee, Broward, Pinellas, and Orange) and those people already had their county taxes (but not state taxes) being handled by HA.

                                                   

                                                  For owners in the 24 counties that Florida DoR handles collecting their local tax (Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Desoto, Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades, Hamilton, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Levy, Madison, Okaloosa, Okeechobee, Pasco, Sumter, Wakulla, Washington), HA will collect those county taxes as well and remit to the state.


                                                  For everyone else in the 40+ counties that HA is not collecting local taxes, because the HA site does not let us specify 2 tax rates, we will need to increase our nightly rates by X% to cover the county taxes at midnight on December 1.  Add a reminder to your calendar so you do not forget.


                                                  So, for example, if you're in Osceola county, you collect 7.5% to send to the state (6% + 1.5% discretionary taxes) and 6% to the county.  To make it simple, on a $100 rental, you're collecting $113.50 and remitting $7.50 to the state and $6 to the county.  On December 1, that 7.5% will become the only tax rate on your property, so you will need to increase your $100 rental to $106 and on your form to Osceola, you'll claim $100 in revenue and $6 in taxes.  This is the same thing you have to do for AirBnB bookings.


                                                  When you get a booking, the state taxes (and county taxes for 28 counties) for the full booking are collected in the first payment.  So if you have a half-paid reservation for next year, those will not be affected by this; you're still collecting and remitting state + county taxes for those bookings.  However, for new bookings, you will only collect the county taxes as part of when you collect the money for the booking (since it'll be built into your rate)... provided you're not in the 28 counties with which HA already has agreements to collect taxes.


                                                  And, yes, be great if davidp_ha or homeaway_community_manager could chime in to confirm.

                                                  • Re: florida tax collections
                                                    davidp_ha HomeAway Employee

                                                    Hi everyone, I've shared your questions with the appropriate teams. We'll follow up on this thread once we have answers for more of the specific questions; please note that as this is a holiday week it may be until next week that we are able to provide that information. In the meantime, this page contains the list of counties and description of the taxes to be collected starting on December 1st: What Stay Taxes/Lodging Taxes does HomeAway collect and remit? | HomeAway Help

                                                      • Re: florida tax collections
                                                        greggt Senior Contributor

                                                        No offense David but you would think before announcing and setting dates HA would have all the details, specific instructions put together for on of the largest vacation rental locations in the US.

                                                        I'm sorry but this just not present itself in a very professional manner, it creates far more questions and confusion, very "Shoot from the Hip" to say the least.

                                                        • Re: florida tax collections
                                                          jeffford Contributor

                                                          David,

                                                           

                                                          I was told by CS Saturday that you were going to be collecting and remitting for all Florida counties and that this list would be revised.  Could you check on this?

                                                           

                                                          If you are not collecting and paying the 5% (for Nassau co), will you still be collecting the 5% and remitting it to us so that we can remit as is the current practice?  Or do we need to adjust our rates to reflect this?

                                                           

                                                          Can we opt out of this service if we want to?

                                                           

                                                          You aren't giving yourself much time to find answers to these questions since it starts 12/1.

                                                          • Re: florida tax collections
                                                            floridarob Contributor

                                                            Having read the story, it is based on a lot of inaccuracies and misunderstandings. It suggests that;

                                                             

                                                            1) HomeAway is the accommodations provider - they are not.

                                                            2) Taxes have not been collected and remitted by HomeAway owners directly to the county.

                                                            3) County tax collectors are completely ignorant of the differences between AirBnB and HomeAway and their respective accommodations providers.

                                                             

                                                            MiamiDade will likely lose a lawsuit against HomeAway, as they would need to prove that HomeAway collected and failed to remit taxes, or were responsible for them in the first place. Neither of these situations is the case. The whole suit is based on ignorance of how our respective businesses work, much the result of the influence of AirBnB (yeah... thanks guys!).

                                                             

                                                            Like they did with AirBnB, MiamiDade may get a big cheque from HomeAway in the future, but they'll get thousands of offsetting smaller ones from the owners themselves. It is the same money, just taking a different route. Won't provide the county with any benefit at all.

                                                             

                                                            All this article does is prove my earlier point. AirBnB is (for the most part) full of non-compliant, non-licensed unprofessional accommodations providers operating their businesses in a non-compliant manner (yes, I know, not all, and I'm not painting everybody with the same brush), operating under the rules out of their own homes. HomeAway is a completely different matter. Hopefully their lawyers are smart enough to make the judge understand that - but there is no limit to people's ignorance - including that of lawyers and judges.

                                                             

                                                            Finally, this article is related to a county vs. HomeAway matter. It says nothing about the Florida State government. Why would it be an influence on how HomeAway conducts itself with my listing, in a completely different county and part of the state; and with the state and not the county?

                                                              • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                sunnycs CommunityAmbassador

                                                                I didn't write the story, but I agree that it is a lame reporting of the matter.  My property is in SC so I don't have a dog in this fight (not that we won't be next).  I suppose I should have posted that the article may be of "interest," rather than significant.  Just sayin...   someone or something appears to have lit a fire under HA to comply with Florida's requirements.

                                                                • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                  margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                                  floridarob wrote:

                                                                   

                                                                  All this article does is prove my earlier point. AirBnB is (for the most part) full of non-compliant, non-licensed unprofessional accommodations providers operating their businesses in a non-compliant manner (yes, I know, not all, and I'm not painting everybody with the same brush), operating under the rules out of their own homes. HomeAway is a completely different matter. Hopefully their lawyers are smart enough to make the judge understand that - but there is no limit to people's ignorance - including that of lawyers and judges.

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  There are also plenty listings on HA that are non-compliant, unlicensed, unprofessional accommodations providers, operating their businesses in a non-compliant manner. I agree that due to the fact that ABB does not provide a line item for tax, there is no way to know if those owners are charging the appropriate tax but there are also many listings on HA and other listing sites that do not appear to be charging tax on the VRs.

                                                              • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                floridarob Contributor

                                                                In our counties around Walt Disney World, the total county tax haul from vacation rentals actually EXCEEDS the amounts remitted by the hotel industry.  It hit this level for the first time in 2016, and it was big industry news. Vacation rentals supplying more sales taxes than the hotel industry.  I have no idea about the Miami/Dade situation, but I know that there are some areas in that local that are decidedly unfriendly towards vacation rentals. The article referenced above could just be another salvo in their war.

                                                                 

                                                                Even if this is being 'forced upon' HomeAway, so what? HomeAway could implement it in a far more responsible manner than what we are seeing here.  "We'll get back to you... with four days notice!"

                                                                 

                                                                feibus, I will NEVER include taxes in my rates.  I WILL send a separate bill to the guests for the county taxes and insist they pay them directly, for a number of reasons;

                                                                1) It will keep my rates 'legitimate' in accordance with both State and County Laws, which state that the actual sales price MUST be provided to the customer, and the sales taxes show IN ADDITION to the amount of the sale,

                                                                2) It will keep my rates competitive with people not charging sales taxes at all,

                                                                3) It will provide an audit trail of the taxes being collected (and remitted on my end) in order to meet my own obligations to the county for complete and accurate records that are reasonable and easily understood,

                                                                4) It will protect my guests from being charged tax on tax - If you back the county tax out of a sale, what amount do you back it out of; an amount that already includes the state tax, or do you calculate and make up a number that accounts for the state tax being included in the sale amount, resulting in a very weird percentage number to use? My guests don't pay county tax on the State sales tax now, and I'm not going to make them start because HomeAway wants to play big brother,

                                                                5) It will inform guests just exactly who is responsible for the unfortunate situation where they can no longer see directly on HomeAway sites what the total amount of the bill is going to be. It is certainly not MY choice that HomeAway makes things even more difficult than they already have for me to conduct business with my guests. My guests are going to know that HomeAway is the source of this issue, and the reason why county sales taxes are no longer being presented in the quotes being shown on their site for my listings.

                                                                 

                                                                MOST IMPORTANT TAKE AWAY POINT:

                                                                It is one thing for HomeAway to start charging and remitting State tax on bookings on their site.  It is quite another thing to at the same time TAKE AWAY the ability to calculate and show the correct total amount of the rental by calculating and showing the county sales tax (or any other additional tax) that a property may be responsible for.

                                                                 

                                                                This WHOLE situation could be made a million times better if HomeAway would just allow us to calculate, show and properly collect any other taxes we are responsible for, by allowing us as owners to continue to show and calculate an additional tax amount, besides the state sales tax. But to take that functionality AWAY just because HomeAway will now be collecting the state tax (as if that is the ONLY tax that we are responsible for) is the absolute height of business arrogance, ignorance, and stupidity.  I really wish that there were some mature adults in charge at HomeAway. Only a child would make such a boneheaded ridiculous decision. (And if gentler minds don't appreciate such strong wording, then stop acting in such a boneheaded ridiculous fashion. I'm very nice when dealing with sane, responsible, reasonable people. Admittedly, I don't suffer fools gladly.)

                                                                 

                                                                Again, it is against the law in my county to fail to show the taxes that apply and are due on a sales transaction on a separate line on the sales bill. According to the regulations, taxes CAN NOT be backed out. If HomeAway takes away that tax calculation functionality of our listings, they are forcing us to conduct business in a manner against the regulations of our county. I will not go along with this. My customers will be provided a separate bill for the county taxes, after booking, just prior to their arrival, with a detailed explanation that if they don't like it they are invited to contact HomeAway directly and complain to them.

                                                                 

                                                                I am sick and tired of being made a scapegoat for HomeAway's inability to conduct their operations in a responsible, businesslike manner.

                                                                • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                  linkybo Contributor

                                                                  I just found this thread and although I'm not in Florida, Oregon is having a similar issue with VRBO/homeaway remitting taxes. They want to send one lump sum and my county tax people actually sent the VRBO tax check back to vrbo. Tax dept wants it broken down by home and VRBO said that's not how they do it. So my tax collectors send me mail that I owe the tax VRBO collected and I also owe a penalty and if I don't pay, they'll put a lien on my home. You'll have to read the letter to see how regretful the tax department in Oregon is.

                                                                   

                                                                   

                                                                  November 16th 2018

                                                                  Dear Property Owner and/or Manager,


                                                                  We are writing to inform you that Clatsop County received one lump sum payment for 3

                                                                  Quarter 2018 Transient Room Taxes from VRBO/ Homeaway for all properties in unincorporated Clatsop County. However, the company failed to provide us with a list of the lodging premises they collected rents for along with gross receipts as required by Oregon Laws 2018 Chapter 34, 56 and Clatsop County Ordinance 2017-01. As a result, Clatsop County was unable to process their payment. Requests were made to receive the required information from VRBO/ Homeaway through multiple different communication channels and the company refused to cooperate.

                                                                  Since VRBO/ Homeaway declined to complete the Transient Lodging Tax Return, Clatsop County was obligated to return their payment. Ultimately the records must reflect those properties using VRBO/ Homeaway's services as delinquent because ofVRBO/Homeaway's failure to supply accompanying documentation on what lodging premises their payment was intended.

                                                                  After review of our ordinance by Clatsop County Counsel, it is with sincere regret that our office informs you that all Lodging Providers using VRBO/ Homeaway's service will be receiving notice of nonpayment and the lodging premises will be assessed penalties and interest. Unfortunately, if payment is not received, lodging premises for which no payment has been received will have a lien recorded against it which may result in foreclosure.

                                                                  We realize the unfortunate result will be that some lodging providers using VRBO/ Homeaway will have to pay the County what their tenants have already paid plus penalties and interest, but without VRBO/ Homeaway's cooperation, we cannot accurately credit accounts.

                                                                  Sincerely,

                                                                  Alicia Sprague

                                                                  Staff Assistant

                                                                  Clatsop County Assessment and Taxation

                                                                  cc. Clatsop County Counsel

                                                                  VRBO/Homeaway, c/o Nick Aleksovski

                                                                  • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                    db.meyer Senior Contributor

                                                                    linkybo, what a nightmare.  You may want to immediately file an appeal with the Board of County Commissioners (within 15 days) per the ordinance:

                                                                     

                                                                    https://www.co.clatsop.or.us/sites/default/files/fileattachments/assessment_amp_taxation/page/253/ordinance_no_2017-01.p…

                                                                      • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                        jeffford Contributor

                                                                        Steve,

                                                                         

                                                                        We are all here because we have had some success listing our properties on HoneAway/VRBO.

                                                                         

                                                                        But you may be forcing us to cancel our listings on your site because the manner in which you are collecting and remitting taxes may not be legal and acceptable to the taxing authorities.

                                                                         

                                                                        I encourage you to respond quickly and with complete and accurate information, or at a minimum delay your collection of taxes until you are certain that what your are planning to do regarding the collection and remittance of taxes is acceptable to taxing authorities, legal, and does not place the property owners in jeopardy.

                                                                         

                                                                        Again, I stress, HomeAway did not leave much time to address these concerns.

                                                                      • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                        greggt Senior Contributor

                                                                        Any update on this Erinn? Many of us have not received any notification from HA or the state of Florida.

                                                                        Does this include all taxes or just Florida State sales tax?

                                                                        What about County, City, TDC taxes?

                                                                        Is HA going to leave a tax line to allow us to collect taxes that HA doesn't collect?

                                                                        Lots of questions, really no answers and we are only five days away with no clue on how to proceed???

                                                                        • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                          concheyjoe New Member

                                                                          There appears to be a long lapse in postings on the subject. I hope there were none redacted??

                                                                           

                                                                          HA we need answers on how to resolve the issues that have been well documented in this thread.

                                                                          • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                            kmcbhense Contributor

                                                                            10 days in now from the original post, and still no one from VRBO/Homeaway can even comment! Its absolutely disgusting how they treat there partner hosts. This is a customer service business, which we as hosts work diligently at, too bad our "partner" doesn't know the value of SERVICE.

                                                                            • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                              eyegirl New Member

                                                                              Is anyone else considering hiding(not sure of the exact term, but to basically make it invisible) their listing while this is sorted out?  As owners we are ultimately responsible for the taxes and I've yet to see any specific information on how this will be handled.  I am also in Nassau County and I am awaiting a response from the Tax Office.  I think that giving the owners the option of opting out would be the best option for the time being.  Vrbo/homeaway could even supply the state and county with the owners' names who opted out.  Somebody who isn't sending their taxes in surely wouldn't want to be on that list.  Those of us who do pay the taxes appropriately could continue on our current path.

                                                                              • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                                homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

                                                                                Hi Everyone,

                                                                                 

                                                                                Please see this thread for more information. Thank you.

                                                                                 

                                                                                Erinn

                                                                                HomeAway Community Manager

                                                                                  • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                                    floridavil New Member

                                                                                    State Tax Collection by HomeAway:

                                                                                     

                                                                                    - My concern is the risk (at a future date) that the Florida DOR sends me a notice that I owe them for years of back taxes (as they see my on-line tax submission goes from a certain historical amount each month to basically zero as of Dec.1).

                                                                                     

                                                                                    - Currently we all have a DOR account number so the Florida DOR knows what we submit each month.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    - With the new HomeAway "bulk tax submission" to the DOR each month, there is no traceability back to the individual rental account / property address ........ therefore the risk of a future tax bill for "unpaid taxes".

                                                                                     

                                                                                     

                                                                                    floridavil

                                                                                      • Re: florida tax collections
                                                                                        feibus CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                        That last point is very true.  From the Florida sales tax rules:

                                                                                         

                                                                                        2. Even though a written agreement exists between the agent, representative, or management company and the property owner, the property owner remains responsible for the tax obligation in the event the agent, representative, or management company fails to collect or remit the tax due to the proper taxing authority and the taxing authority is unable to collect the applicable tax from the agent, representative, or management company.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        In this case, HA is officially agreeing to be what it has actually been for several years: the booking agent.  They are responsible now for collecting and remitting the taxes for the state.  However, if they fail to do their job right, the owners are on the hook.