On April 5th of 2022, the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners approved to raise the tourist development tax rate for Pasco County from 4% to 5%. This Ordinance was passed unanimously, and it is scheduled to take effect for rental stays starting June 1st, 2022. For our Zephyrhills residents specifically, this means that anyone renting out an Air BnB will need to ensure the tourist tax you collect, and remit is aligned with the higher rate.
What Does the Tourist Tax Fund?
When someone comes to visit any city within Pasco County and stays for any length of time under six months, the tax they pay on overnight accommodations raises funds that help the county market itself to potential visitors that come from all over the world.
In 2021 the tourism tax brought in over 3.6 million dollars, which is an increase of 36 percent from what was reported in 2020, according to the Tampa Bay Times. But this most recent tax increase is designed to expand the Florida’s Sports Coast branding to audiences internationally.
Marketing campaigns allow Pasco County to stay competitive in the tourist industry, keeping our local economy healthy and reducing the financial strain on the local population. Because of the recent COVID lockdowns, the growth in tourism will provide a significant boost that is helpful to all residents. In 2021 there were 1.4 million visitors, which is an increase of 42 percent from 2020, and an increase of 31 percent from 2019.
How Does the Tax Rate Compare to Other Counties?
Even with the approved tax increase, Pasco County still has a matching rate of 5 percent when compared to other tourist destinations such as Citrus, Hernando, Manatee, Polk, and Sarasota. The Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties are actually at 6% which makes Pasco County able to compete with other areas, while still getting the necessary funding for marketing and advertising.
What Does This Mean for Hospitality Business Owners?
If you own a hospitality business in the Zephyrhills area, the tourist tax you collect starting in June of 2022 needs to be 5%. This tax is reported and remitted to the Pasco Tax Collector through a convenient online system called the Tourist Express System. You can also remit your taxes via mail, although you must still register, either online or with a paper application. If you are planning to close your business, or are no longer offering your property for short term rental, then don’t forget to close your account so that you don’t get hit with penalties or interest.
Future Rate Increases
Currently, the 5 percent tax is the most that Pasco County will be able to charge due to the size of the community. There are much larger counties nearby that are able to bring in far more tourist tax revenue, which enables them to also increase their tax rates. For the moment, the 5 percent tax will allow Pasco County to encourage growth while providing amazing amenities for tourists and residents alike. If you have further questions, please keep browsing the Henson and Murtha website or feel free to reach out and contact us if you need more information.