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Airbnb just paid its taxes and here’s how much Miami-Dade made

cmguerrero@elnuevoherald.com

After a contentious debate that ended with Miami-Dade County agreeing to collect the countywide bed tax from Airbnb, the popular — but controversial — short-term rental platform is paying up.

After a month collecting the 6 percent resort tax in May, Airbnb announced Tuesday that the site remitted $522,000 to county coffers on behalf of its 6,800 Miami-Dade hosts last month.

That’s the largest payout Airbnb has made on behalf of its hosts in Florida. Airbnb collects taxes in 39 of Florida’s 63 eligible counties, including Broward, Pinellas and Hillsborough.

Miami-Dade Airbnb hosts made about $12 million in May, or nearly $400,000 a day, the platform said.

Airbnb’s local deals are expected to bring at least $6 million annually in tourist taxes in Miami-Dade and $1 million a year in Broward.

"I'm very proud and encouraged to see how this public-private partnership is already bringing results for our residents," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, in a statement. "I hope and expect this is a sign of things to come. I want our county to serve as a national model in harnessing the economic benefits of the sharing economy."

The numbers also offer some insight into how profitable the platform is for local hosts. Renters in Miami-Dade made about $12 million in May, or nearly $400,000 a day, Airbnb said.

Miami-Dade County is one of the top five Airbnb destinations in the country, with 6,800 hosts renting their homes. But for the past year, Miami Beach has been fining locals who rent on platforms like Airbnb $20,000 for each violation.

Under the county’s deal, Airbnb collects taxes on behalf of its hosts and remits them back to the county at the end of the month. Apart from the 6 percent county tax, Airbnb also collects the 3 percent convention tax from hosts in Miami Beach. Excluded from the deal are the resort taxes in Miami Beach and Bal Harbour, which are 4 percent and 3 percent, respectively, because each city has its resort tax structure.

Airbnb collects taxes in 39 of Florida’s 63 eligible counties.

Miami-Dade and Broward, where the resort tax is 5 percent, reached similar deals with Airbnb on April 4. In Broward, the deal was approved unanimously by country commissioners.

But in Miami-Dade, the deal sparked a lengthy discussion that questioned whether collecting taxes from Airbnb legitimized the platform, which has been operating illegally in certain areas of the county. Ultimately, county commissioners Bruno Barreiro, Joe Martinez and Javier Souto voted against the measure.

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Mayors Philip Levine and Tomas Regalado held a joint event on March 20 at Miami City Hall to discuss community concerns with Airbnb. Prior to the mayors' meeting, Airbnb hosts met at city hall to discuss the importance of the platform in their lives. Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine speaks to the press as Mimi City Mayor Tomas Regaled looks up at a plane towing a protest slogan during the press conference. José A. Iglesias jiglesias@elnuevoherald.com

Renting on Airbnb has been an increasingly controversial issue for the past year, as the platform has grown its local footprint and cities have struggled to regulate its use.

In Miami Beach, where short-term rentals are largely illegal in single-family homes and allowed in some condo buildings, the city fines Airbnb hosts — and those on other short-term rental platforms — $20,000 for each offense. In the city of Miami, renting on Airbnb is outlawed in suburban areas.

Chabeli Herrera: 305-376-3730, @ChabeliH

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