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The tourist development tax is a 2% charge on the revenue collected on the rental of living quarters or accommodations in a hotel, apartment, motel, condominium, mobile home, villa, campground, single or multi-family dwelling that are rented for a period of six months or less.  Also subject to the tax are rentals longer than six months without a written lease.

This tax is collected under the authority of Highlands County Ordinance 12-13-13 Section 8-221 and is in addition to the state sales tax which is due to the Department of Revenue.

All owners and/or operators of the above mentioned facilities are subject to tourist taxes and must collect these taxes from their tenants or guests and remit them to the Highlands County Tax Collector.  You must register with the Tax Collector’s Office.  A registration form can be downloaded from the link below:

For Individuals:     Individual TDT Application     For Businesses:    Business TDT Application

Additional forms you may need:

Individual Additional Properties Form

Federal Employee’s Exemption 

Business Additional Properties Form

Military Exemption

Change of Address Form

Student Exemption

Power of Attorney Release Form

TDT Tax Return

TDT Tax Return – Paper/Mail In Form

REMITTING TAXES

Pursuant to Florida Statutes 212.11(1) (b) and 212.11(1) (c), these taxes shall be remitted to the Tax Collector’s Office on a monthly basis unless your tourist tax collections for a quarter do not exceed $100.00, in which case the taxes may be remitted quarterly.  If the rental property is only available for specific months of the year, the taxes may be remitted the month following the rental period (Note:  registration must indicate that the property is seasonal).  All reporting periods are due by the 20th day of the month following the collection from your tenant or guest.  Payment is considered delinquent if not postmarked by the 20th

A return must be filed even if no taxes were collected for the reporting period pursuant to Florida Statute 212.11(4) (e) with the exemption of seasonal rentals.

 

REPORTING PERIODS

Monthly – January – December

Tax return and tax payments are due by the 20th of the month following collection.
Quarterly

January – March, tax return and payment due by April 20.

April – June, tax return and payment due by July 20.

July – September, tax return and payment due by October 20.

October – December, tax return and payment due by January 20.
Seasonal – January – December

Tax return and tax payments are due by the 20th of the month following collection on the months property was designated as a rental on registration form.

TOURIST EXPRESS

Providing you file and remit payment online and on time, you are entitled to an allowance of 2.5% of the first $1,200 collected (not to exceed $30) pursuant to Florida Statute 212.12 (1) (a).  If the tax return is filed late, the taxpayer will not be entitled to a collection allowance. **No Fee for E-Checks if paying online**

To file and pay online please visit:  https://highlands.county-taxes.com/tourist

 

PENALTIES FOR DELINQUENCY

If the return and payment are not postmarked by the 20th of the month following the reporting period, penalty and interest are assessed.  Florida Statute 212.12(1)(a) provides that the penalty is 10% of the tax due for each month or fraction of a month that the return is delinquent.  The penalty is a minimum of $50.00, up to a maximum of 50% of the tax due.  The interest rate is accrued at the annual statutory rate set by the comptroller of the State of Florida for each day postmarked after the 20th of the month that the taxes are due.  Interest accrues daily on delinquent tax at a variable interest rate pursuant to Florida Statute 213.235.  For information on the current interest rates, please visit http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/tips/.

Fraud will be dealt with severely in accordance with the provisions and to the fullest extent of Florida Law.

 

EXEMPTIONS

Anyone who has entered into a bona fide written lease in excess of six months is exempt from the tourist development tax on the rent payments.  If there is no written lease, the owner is required to collect and remit the tourist tax for the first six months.  The seventh month and every month thereafter will be exempt, provided the renter continues to reside at the same location.

Anyone who is exempt from paying state sales tax is also exempt from the tourist development tax.   These classifications include migrant labor camps, full-time students enrolled in an institution offering postsecondary education, Mobile Home Parks where more than 50% of total rental units are rented for more than 3 months and have filed a DR-72-2, active duty military personnel, churches and non-profit organizations that have a sales tax exemption number from the Florida Department of Revenue in accordance with Florida Statute 212.03 (7)(a).

 

RECORDS

All records that substantiate transient rentals must be kept for 3 years including guest checks, general ledgers, federal income tax returns, etc.   Any records located outside the county must be returned to the audit site prior to an audit pursuant to Florida Statutes 213.35.

 

AUDIT PROCEDURE

The Highlands County Tax Collector will send written notification at least 30 days prior to any audit.

 

Questions related to the Tourist Development Tax can be sent to TCFinOps@hctaxcollector.com.

 

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