JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As city leaders work to finalize Jacksonville's budget to pay for more firefighters and improve flooding protection downtown and in Jacksonville's neighborhoods, a city auditor discovered other Florida counties are literally cashing in on Airbnb taxes.
Right now, Jacksonville is missing out on that revenue, and the auditor urged city leaders to make changes right away.
According to the City Council auditor's report, Airbnb offered to enter into an agreement with the city in February 2016. But Jacksonville declined the deal, which would have guaranteed that Airbnb taxes be funneled to the city.
Airbnb tax revenue
Source: Jacksonville City Council auditor report
That means that while Lee County made $903,000 in Airbnb tax revenue last year, Hillsborough County made $562,000 and Sarasota made $535,000 -- Duval County didn't make a dime.
In other Florida counties, when people book an Airbnb, the homeowner is instructed to tell the renter that he or she is required to pay city taxes. That tax money is then turned over to the city's Convention and Tourism Board.
So exactly how much could Duval County have made if the city had taken the deal?
Airbnb estimates that 42,600 guest arrivals in Duval County resulted in a total income of $6.1 million for the hosts in 2017. That $6.1 million would have generated $366,000 in tourist development and convention development taxes.
The auditor recommended that the current administration begin to work with Airbnb and other similar companies, like Vacation Renter by Owner or VRBO, to capitalize on the tax revenue.
News4Jax is waiting for a response from a city spokesperson on whether the city is indeed working to strike a deal with Airbnb, which claims it is on pace to earn as much as $3.5 billion a year worldwide by 2020.