St. Lucie County voters ratified an ordinance authorizing the levy of the local option tourist development tax within its boundaries in 1984. The tourist development tax is authorized by the Florida Statute 125.0104 and is levied by almost all coastal counties in Florida, as well as most larger inland counties. The tax rate in St. Lucie County is five percent and is imposed on every person who rents or leases any living quarters or accommodations for a period of six months or less.
Living quarters are generally defined by Florida Statute 125.0104 as accommodations in any house, hotel, motel, apartment, rooming house, mobile home park, recreational vehicle park or condominium. This tax is in addition to the regular 6.5 percent sales tax levied by the Florida Department of Revenue on short term rentals. The tax collector is responsible for the collection, administration and enforcement of the tourist development tax. Two tax returns must be prepared by those collecting these taxes – One for the 6.5 percent sales tax for the Department of Revenue and the St. Lucie County tax collector’s five percent tourist development tax.
Revenue derived from the tourist development tax is used for two primary purposes in St. Lucie County: maintenance, improvements, and debt service on the St. Lucie County Sports Complex; and for the promotion of tourism for the county, proceeds from the tax range $2 – 2.5 million per year.
Note: If property owners or property managers are contemplating renting living accommodations for periods of six months or less, the following steps must be taken:
- Register with the Florida Department of Revenue to obtain a sales tax identification number. Call 772.429.2900 for further information.
- Setup a tourist development tax account with the St. Lucie County tax collector’s office. Call 772.462.1650 for further information.
The Florida Statutes provide for certain exemptions from the tourist development tax such as:
- full-time students
- certain members of the military
- migrant labor camps.
The lessor must have sales tax exemption certificate DR-14 on file to claim exemptions. The tourist development tax does not apply to rentals of more than six months duration; however, a bonafide written lease must be entered into between the lessee and lessor.
Questions regarding the tourist development tax can be answered by calling the tax collector’s office at 772.462.1650.