Tourist Development Tax

Effective February 1, 2022 (for January 2022 rentals), The Okaloosa County Clerk of Court will be responsible for the collection, enforcement, and audit of the Tourist Development Tax. The Clerk of Court has been assigned this duty by the Board of County Commissioners.

How to stay up-to-date? If you are an owner or property manager, please help us keep you updated on the transition by completing the online form HERE. This will help make sure we have the correct contact information and is the quickest way to stay up-to-date.

Subject to Tourist Development Tax

Facilities in the Okaloosa Taxing district that are rented for six months or less are subject to 5% tourist development tax. These facilities include living quarters and accommodations in a hotel, apartment hotel, motel, resort motel, apartment motel, rooming house, tourist or trailer camp, mobile home park, condominium, cooperatively owned apartment, multiple-unit structure, single-family dwelling, beach house, cottage, or watercraft.  This tax is in addition to the state sales tax due to the Department of Revenue of 7%.

Who is responsible for collecting this tax?

All owners and/or operators of the facilities are subject to tourist taxes and must collect these taxes from their tenants or guests and remit them to the Okaloosa County Clerk of Court.

An application (form DR1-C) must also be obtained from the Florida Department of Revenue for the collection of state sales tax. The Department of Revenue can be contacted at 1-800-352-3671.

Collecting and Remitting this Tax

Tourist Development Tax returns are due on the 1st of the month following when the rental stay occurred and delinquent if postmarked or submitted after the 20th.

We will require a monthly or quarterly return to be filed.  A quarterly filing requires tax returns to be filed four times a year; however, the total tax paid for each quarter cannot exceed $250.00. 

To compensate owners and operators for the collection of taxes from their tenants and guests, the owners/operators are entitled to keep an allowance of 2.5% of the first $1,200 of the tax due (up to a maximum of $30) provided the tourist tax is filed online. If the tax is filed in person or by mail, no allowance will apply

If a return is delinquent, the collection allowance is disallowed, and penalty and interest will be charged. Per FL Statute, the penalty is 10% of the tax due or $50, whichever is greater. Interest accrues daily at a variable rate established by the FL Dept. of Revenue.

Management companies will now be required to remit gross, exempt, and taxable amounts for every unit/property they manage.

ATTENTION ALL AIRBNB, HOMEAWAY, & VRBO CUSTOMERS: Please note that Okaloosa County is NOT contracted with ANY platform including the ones mentioned above to receive taxes on your behalf. Therefore, it is your responsibility to collect & remit any Okaloosa Co. Tourist Development Tax (TDT or “bed tax”) to the Okaloosa Co. Clerk of Court & Co. Comptroller.  The Florida Department of Revenue contract will not continue after December 31, 2021.

When and How do I register my account?

Short-term rental license applications must be completed through an online web portal set up by Host Compliance, an external short-term rental monitoring software company. The portal utilizes software to process and manage all applications and will be accessible to you to register your account beginning December 2021. Users will be able to access the web portal through our website by visiting www.OkaloosaClerk.com. Please be advised that failure to comply with short-term rental licensing requirements may result in additional fees, penalties, possible denial of a license and/or restrictions on your short-term rental property.

If you need assistance or have questions, please contact Joshua Allen, Business Systems Director, at 850-651-7200 x3491.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE OKALOOSA COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX?

The tourist development tax is a 5% bed tax collected from the current taxing district that represents an area of Okaloosa County. See map here: Tourist Tax District

BY WHAT AUTHORITY ARE THESE GUIDELINES ISSUED?

The Florida Local Option Tourist Development Tax, Florida Statute 125.0104 permits the Board of County Commissioners of Okaloosa County, Florida to levy a tourist development tax. Florida Statutes Chapter 212 Tax on Sales, Use, and Other Transactions authorize how the local option tax is to be administered, enforced, and audited by Okaloosa County, Florida.

Okaloosa County Ordinance 21-22, the local ordinance created the Tourist Development Council, established the tax rate collection, and identifies the taxing district within Okaloosa County and authorizes the Clerk of the Circuit Court to locally administer the tourist development tax (effective February 1, 2022 for rentals in January 2022).

HOW ARE THE MONIES USED?
  • Promote tourism sales and increase overall visitation through marketing and advertising of our beautiful area to the outside world, generating a maximum return on investment for the local economy.
  • Operation of Visitor Welcome Centers, Convention Center, and Film Commission
  • Beach safety and funding of the Beach Safety Life Saving Program (funding of beach lifeguards)
  • Funding of local, special events
  • Research and Evaluation of success of all programs and local economy
  • Protection and improvements to the natural environment through funding of the artificial reef program, public beach access parks, beach cleaning, beach restoration improvements, a certified mandated State of Florida beach turtle watch program, as well as the Environment Council Programs: water testing throughout Choctawhatchee Bay, biannual beach clean ups and Adopt-a-county road and dune programs:
  •  http://www.myokaloosa.com/tourist-development/home
WHAT FACILITIES ARE SUBJECT TO THE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX?

All facilities that are rented for six months or less are subject to the 5% tourist development tax. These facilities include living quarters and accommodations in a hotel, apartment hotel, motel, resort motel, apartment motel, rooming house, tourist or trailer camp, mobile home park, condominium, cooperatively owned apartment, multiple-unit structure, single-family dwelling, beach house, cottage, or watercraft.

CAN THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION BE CLAIMED?

As addressed in Florida Statutes Chapter 196.061: “The rental of an entire dwelling previously claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes shall constitute the abandonment of said dwelling as a homestead and said abandonment shall continue until such dwelling is physically occupied by the owner thereof.  However, such abandonment of such homestead after January 1 of any year shall not affect the homestead exemption for tax purposes for that particular year so long as this provision is not used for 2 consecutive years.”

HOW IS THE 5% TAX CALCULATED?

The 5% tax is calculated on the total fees and fair market value of consideration paid by the tenant for the benefit of the accommodations. All fees and consideration that are required by the tenant for the benefit of the accommodations are considered as the total rental charge and are taxable. These fees include but are not limited to room rental charges, cleaning fees, rollaway beds, and cribs. 

WHO COLLECTS THIS TAX?

All owners or operators of the above listed facilities are subject to the tourist development tax. All owners or operators are required to register the facilities and collect this tax from their tenants or guests. Collected taxes are remitted to the Clerk of Circuit Court of Okaloosa County. (effective February 1, 2022 for rentals in January 2022).

WHO IS EXEMPT FROM THIS TAX?

All the above listed facilities are subject to the tourist development tax except as stipulated:

* Tenant presents Florida Consumer’s Certificate of Exemption. Payment for accommodations must be made by the holder of the exempt certificate (except federal government employees) to be considered tax exempt, even if they will be reimbursed by the exempt agency.

* Tenant and owner/operator have implemented a bona fide lease agreement for a period greater than six months continuous.

* Tenant has occupied and paid tax continuously for greater than six months the remainder of the rental period for this same tenant is tax exempt.

* As documented in the Florida Statutes for Sales and Use Tax exemptions.

HOW OFTEN ARE THESE TAXES REMITTED?

Tax return and payment are remitted monthly. A tax return is due even when no rental activity has occurred during the reporting period. The tax return and payment are due the first day of the month following collection from tenants and are considered delinquent if not postmarked by the 20th of the month following the close of the reporting period. For example, the January reporting period is from January 1 through January 31, the tax return and full payment must be postmarked no later than the February 20th.  There is an exception allowable for quarterly filing where payment history is $1,000 or less of tax paid annually.   

WHAT DO OWNERS AND OPERATORS OF THESE FACILITIES RECEIVE FOR COLLECTING THE TAX?WHAT DO OWNERS AND OPERATORS OF THESE FACILITIES RECEIVE FOR COLLECTING THE TAX?

Owners and operators are compensated for their effort to collect and remit the tourist tax by receiving a collection allowance. The collection allowance is 2.5% of the first $1,200 in tax collected, provided timely filing of the tax return.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR NONCOMPLIANCE OR LATE SUBMISSION?

Florida Statutes permit penalties and interest to be assessed on the tax receipts due to Okaloosa County when filling and/or full payment is not received by the 20th of the month. If the tax return is delinquent, the collector may be subject the following assessments:

* Collection allowance is disallowed.

* A penalty of 10% for each 30 days delinquent or fraction thereof up to a maximum of 50% of the taxes due or a minimum of $50. Zero balance returns are assessed the minimum $50 penalty.

* Florida law provides a floating rate of interest on tax returns and tax payments. The floating rate applies to underpayments and late payments. Florida Department of Revenue quotes the floating rate each January 1 and July 1. Interest charges are assessed from the date the tax return is due until full payment has been remitted.

*Consequences for failure to file a tax return are outlined in the Florida Statutes.

WHAT RECORDS ARE REQUIRED AND HOW LONG SHOULD THEY BE KEPT?

All records that substantiate all the transient rental sales including, but not limited to cash receipts, guest ledgers, general ledger, Florida Consumer’s Certificate of Exemption, sales tax payments, Federal income tax returns and lease agreements must be kept for a period not less than three years from the date the return was filed or was required to be filed, whichever is later.

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR AN AUDIT OF MY RENTAL RECORDS?

Transient rental sales and activity are subject to tax audits. Documents referenced above are a sample of the documents necessary to perform a thorough audit. The Clerk of the Circuit Court, Business Systems Department will send written notification of an audit. This notification will be submitted at least 30 days prior to any audit. In addition, the assigned auditor will telephone to confirm the audit three working days in advance.

WHERE WILL THE AUDIT OCCUR?

The owner or operator must make the records available at their place of business, if located in Okaloosa County. If the records are not immediately available in Okaloosa County, the owner or operator must return the records to Okaloosa County Clerk of the Circuit Court for examination prior to the audit date.

ADDITIONAL REGISTRATIONS THAT MAY BE REQUIRED FOR TRANSIENT RENTALS

*State of Florida
Department of Revenue
703 W 15th Street, Suite A
Panama City, FL 32401-2238
(850) 872-4165
https://floridarevenue.com/taxes/taxesfees/Pages/sales_tax.aspx

*State of Florida
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Beach Shopping Center
7946 Front Beach Road
Panama City Beach, FL 32407-4817
(850) 233-5170
(800) 370-5170
https://www.myfloridalicense.com/intentions2.asp

*Okaloosa County Tax Collector
Business Tax Receipt
1250 N Eglin Pkwy Suite 101
Shalimar, FL 32579
(850) 651-7310
https://www.okaloosatax.com/services/business-tax-receipt/

All public records request should be directed to the designated Records Custodian, Don Allgood.

Don Allgood, D.C., RMO, RMLO, CPM
Office of the Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller
1940 Lewis Turner Blvd.
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
PublicRecords@Okaloosaclerk.com