Miami-Dade hotel taxes slightly below national average


The debate over a plan to raise hotel taxes to fund renovations at Sun Life Stadium has focused on whether Miami-Dade under-charges its tourists. A national study says maybe, but not by much.

Are hotel guests in Miami-Dade under-taxed?

Some local leaders have suggested that is the case, but seemed to forget that hotel guests pay both a hotel tax (6 percent) and a sales tax (7 percent).

During the recent debate on a plan to raise hotel taxes to fund part of a $400 million renovation at Sun Life Stadium, county commissioners cited how Miami-Dade’s 6 percent hotel tax was much lower than taxes charged by rival destinations, including New York and Atlanta.

While both cities to do charge guests higher taxes, it’s not by that much. In fact, Miami-Dade’s current 13 percent hotel tax is just below the national average of 14 percent among the country’s top 50 travel markets , according to a leading hotel trade group.

The data comes from the Global Business Travel Association. It ranks the Top 50 hotel markets in the country by their room taxes. At the top of the list is Burbank, Calif, with a 10.5 percent tax. At the bottom is New York City at 18.1 percent.

Miami-Dade ranks near the top, with a tie for eighth place. (Because so many destinations have the same tax rates, New York ranks 32nd on the list of 50.)

Today, the Economic Time Machine will try to clarify the matter with a simple chart. (If you can’t see a chart in this article, try refreshing the page or viewing the story on a different browser.)

If the Dolphins’ plan went through and Miami-Dade increased mainland hotel taxes to 7 percent from 6 percent, the county would slide down to No. 11 on the list.

A 14 percent room tax would put Miami-Dade mainland hotels on par with what Miami Beach hotels are expected to charge once that city increases its local hotel tax to 7 percent.

It would also widen the affordability gap between hotels in Miami-Dade and Broward, which has voted against sending public dollars to Sun Life. The Fort Lauderdale market holds the No. 2 slot on the affordability list, with an 11 percent room tax.

The difference? Broward charges hotel guests a special 5 percent tax (compared to Miami-Dade’s existing 6 percent hotel tax). And while Miami-Dade has a special 1 percent local sales tax, Broward does not. Added to Florida’s 6 percent sales tax, Broward hotel guests pay an extra 11 cents for every dollar a hotel charges per night.

Miami-Dade guests pay 13 cents. And the average hotel guest in the United States pays 14 cents.

The Miami Herald’s Economic Time Machine blog seeks to put South Florida’s recovery into historical perspective. We try to take the long view on economic stats. For analysis of the latest economic news, visit and look for our weekly chart on Page 3 of Business Monday.

Read more The Economic Time Machine stories from the Miami Herald

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