Tourism tax brings in $3 million for county, funding tourist programs for six organizations

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Tourists flocked to Indian River County in 2018 and the county has almost $3 million to show for it. Tourism taxes, commonly known as the bed tax or hotel tax, pumped $2.96 million into county coffers, up $300,000 — or about 11 percent — over 2017.

That’s almost $500,000, or 20 percent, more than the county projected when it drafted its 2017-18 budget, anticipating $2.48 million in tourism taxes by the end of September, county Budget Director Kristin Daniels said.

The county collects a 4 percent tax on all short-term lodging including hotels, campgrounds, mobile homes and timeshares. That means anyone who rents or leases an accommodation for six months or less must pay a total of 11 percent tax: 6 percent state sales tax, 1 percent county sales tax and the 4 percent tourist-development tax.

Each year the Tourism Development Council decides how that tax revenue will be spent. In May it picked six local organizations to share the tourism-tax revenue during 2018-19. The County Commission approved the allocations before the beginning of the last fiscal year.

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