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Airbnb restores Super Strict, FL Wants OTAs to Pay All Taxes, Miami Targets Party Houses

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Airbnb restores Super Strict, FL Wants OTAs to Pay All Taxes, Miami Targets Party Houses

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Happy Friday Everyone!

Airbnb has restored the Super Strict cancellation policy options. During COVID, Airbnb blocked new listings from using “Super Strict 30” and “Super Strict 60” cancellation policies, along with suspending the advanced payout feature of these policies.

This is no longer the case! Listings can now select these policies again. The only caveat is that hosts will continue to receive payouts 24 hours after check-in regardless of policy.

On the plus side, there is no additional host fee for using Super Strict policies.  That’s pretty cool actually.  Before, the Super Strict policies cost the host an additional 2% fee.

Florida courts are taking on an interesting legal issue…  The Florida Supreme Court is currently mulling over the fate of the vacation rental 'bed tax'. Anne Gannon, Palm Beach County Tax Collector, is asking justices to take up the issue after a divided appeals court ruled back in March that the online companies are exempt from handling the “bed taxes”.

For a long time, vacation rental owners have wondered how online booking channels (eg. Airbnb, TripAdvisor) have not run afoul of PM and tax laws since they collect and hold guest money.  Most states require anyone that collects rent and tax money from real estate tenants, on behalf of the owner, to either have a real estate license or at least remit tax money directly.  Airbnb does remit some taxes, but not all, and they certainly don’t comply with real estate regulations.

Currently the Florida decision is still in limbo as Judge Robert Gross wrote, “The law focuses on that ‘magic moment’ when a person comes into possession of a rental payment, which triggers the obligation of that person to collect the (tourist development tax) and remit it to the proper taxing authority. Both Airbnb and TripAdvisor qualify as agents who ‘receive rent as the owner’s representative’ within the meaning of (the administrative rule). The companies’ terms of service provide that they will act as payment collection agents to receive funds from customers.”  Indeed they do, Judge Gross!

Speaking of Florida, Miami is back open but putting a 10-person restriction in place for vacation rentals, and they all have to be registered guests. Mayor Holness said, “We know these rentals are being used as party places and the virus is being spread.”  Are there that many vacation rentals being used as open-to-the-public party houses?  I guess so.

Have a great weekend!