The Tourist Development Tax is in addition to the total rental amount received from any person who rents, leases, or lets for consideration any living quarter or sleeping or housekeeping accommodation in any hotel, motel, apartment house, multiple unit structure (e.g., duplex, triplex, quadruplex, condominium), rooming house, tourist or mobile home court (e.g., trailer court, motor court, recreational vehicle camp, single-family dwelling, garage apartments, beach house or cottage, cooperatively owned apartment, condominium parcel, timeshare resort, mobile home, or any other house, boat that has a permanent fixed location at a dock and is not operated on the waterway away from the dock by the tenant, (e.g., houseboat permanently moored at a dock, but not including cruise liners used in their normal course of business), vehicle, or other structure, place, or location held out to the public to be a place where living quarters or sleeping or housekeeping accommodations are provided to guest for a period of six months or less. The person receiving the rent is responsible for remitting the taxes to the proper taxing authorities.
If you accept any form of compensation in lieu of rent, the tax would be based upon the fair market value of the compensation. According to Florida Statute Chapter 125.0104, the renting of such property is a privilege, which is subject to taxation, and the requirements and conditions of that taxation are set forth by the State of Florida, as well as various county governments within the state.
Any separately stated mandatory charges to the guests are considered part of the total consideration to rent the transient accommodation and therefore taxable. Separate charges may include, but are not limited to, processing fees, cleaning fees, departure charges, in-room safe fees, cribs, rollaways, refrigerators, microwaves, etc.
Credit card fees
A seller or lessor may not impose a surcharge on the buyer or lessee for using a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means, if the seller or lessor accepts payment by credit card. A surcharge is any additional amount imposed at the time of a sale or lease transaction by the seller or lessor that increases the charge to the buyer or lessee for the privilege of using a credit card to make payment. [F.S. Chapter 501.0117 (1)].
The prepayment of rents or advance rents received must be reported in the month when received because taxes are considered state and county funds from the moment of collection and must be remitted to the taxing authorities without delay.
A reservation deposit that is required to be paid in advance to secure the guest the right to rent is reported when applied to the rental at check-in.
Forfeited room deposits that guarantee the guest the use or possession of a short-term rental (six months or less) are taxable.
It is the duty of each operator of a transient (short-term) establishment to maintain at all times a register, signed by or for guests who occupy rental units within the establishment, showing the dates upon which the rental units were occupied by such guests and the rates charged for their occupancy. This register shall be maintained in chronological order and available for inspection upon request. (F.S. Chapter 509.101(2).
If you accept “reservation vouchers,” the amount of the reservation deposit, prepayment, or fee paid to the seller of the voucher, is a part of the room rate or rental charge. Therefore, you as the owner of the transient accommodation are required to collect and remit the taxes on the total room rate or rental charge, including any amounts separately stated on the redeemed voucher as a reservation deposit, prepayment, or fee.
You may execute a written agreement with the seller of the reservation voucher as the party responsible to collect and remit the taxes on the portion of the room rate or rental charge collected by the seller of the voucher. The amount of the rental charge or room rate collected by the seller of the voucher must be indicated, and the tax must be separately stated, on the reservation voucher. The vouchers and any written agreements must be kept and are subject to review during an audit.
The Office of Commission Auditor was established by the Osceola County Home Rule Charter and reports directly to the Board of County Commissioners.
The purpose of the Office of Commission Auditor is to provide for an independent appraisal promoting efficient and effective Charter government.
The Commission Auditor also provides the Board of County Commissioners with reports and analyses on a variety of financial issues that are brought before the Commissioners.
AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY
The Office of Commission Auditor (OCA) was established and codified in Section 2.3 (D) of Osceola County Home Rule Charter on October 1, 1992. It requires the Commission Auditor to evaluate the internal financial control of the County and perform such other duties assigned by the County Commission.
Revenue audits that verify dealer compliance with tax statutes and/or County ordinances with a goal to collect any funds due to Osceola County are also performed by the Office of the Commission Auditor staff. Revenue audits include Tourist Development Tax (TDT) audits, and Public Service Tax audits. Authorities for such audits include:
Tourist Development Tax
Section 125.0104(10), Florida Statutes
Section 13-61 -68 of the County Code
Public Service Tax
Section 166.234, Florida Statutes
Section 13-231 -239 of the County Code
OCA reports directly to the Board of County Commissioners and has full and unrestricted access to all charter government employees, officials, records and, reports.
PURPOSE OF THE AUDIT:
Osceola County does periodic audits of businesses to:
- Enforce Florida Tourist Development Tax laws and Osceola County Code of Ordinances
- Deter tax evasion
- Promote voluntary compliance
- Educate taxpayers
Although Osceola County accepts the Tourist Development Tax returns as filed, some returns are audited for accuracy and to determine compliance. Audits do not always result in the taxpayer owing additional tax, penalty, or interest.
HOW ARE TAXPAYERS SELECTED FOR AUDIT?
The majority of the Tourist Development Tax audits are selected randomly. However, some audits may be selected as a result of referrals from the Osceola County Office of Commission Auditor’s Tourist Development Tax Services.
- Issuance of Notice of Intent to Audit – 60 days prior to commencement of the audit
- The taxpayer is contacted by the auditor to schedule an entrance conference and commence the audit
- Commencement of the audit- No later than 120 days following the Notice of Intent to Audit
NON-INCLUSIVE LIST OF RECORDS REQUIRED FOR EXAMINATION
- Florida Department of Revenue Sales Tax Returns (DR-15)
- Osceola County Tourist Development Tax Returns
- Federal Income Tax Returns
- General Ledgers
- Chart of Accounts
- Financial Statements (Income Statements, Balance Sheets)
- Exemption Certificates and all records applicable to exempt sales
- Resale Certificates and all records applicable to sales for resale
- Daily Audit Packs (daily close out by Night Auditor)
- Daily Report (posted by hand or computer generated)
- Guest Folio/Registration Cards/Guest Applications
- Monthly Owner Statements (Property Management Companies)
- List of Properties Managed Including Owner’s Name, Permanent Address, and Address of Managed Property
- Copy of Rental Agreement with Owner (If Agreements Vary, Copy of Each Different Agreement)
- Other – any and all documents needed to complete the audit
Additional records may be requested if necessary.
Records must be maintained for a minimum of three years as required by F.S Chapter 212. Osceola County will audit for periods of three years; however, the County may audit for periods longer than three years if the business was never registered with the County.
Pursuant to F.S Chapter 212, only records, receipts, invoices, resale certificates, and related documentation which are available to the auditor when such audit begins shall be deemed acceptable for the purposes of conducting such audit.
In the event that records are not made available, the County may issue an estimated assessment based upon the best information available, pursuant to F.S Chapter 212.
A Power of Attorney Form is required if the owner chooses to be represented by someone other than him or herself during the audit.