Anna Maria Island resort development tax collections for June were up 7.8 percent from the same month last year, a good indication that tourism to the area increased almost 4 percent for the month.
That’s because for 25 of the past 26 months, the percent of tourism increase to Anna Maria Island has been about half the percentage increase of resort tax collections.
The resort development tax is the 5 percent collected by Manatee County on rentals of six months or less.
For June 2013, resort tax collections hit $797,117 compared with $739,150 for June 2012.
Total resort tax collections — also called the bed tax — for fiscal year 2012-13 are at $7.22 million, and, with three months remaining in the fiscal year, are on pace to surpass the record of $8.1 million set in 2011-12.
Resort tax collections have jumped significantly the past two years since the collections department of the Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office became proactive in finding property owners that had been renting their properties, but were not registered with either the tax office or the state of Florida.
The resort tax collections office began field inspections of popular vacation rental areas, including Anna Maria Island, and brought many property owners into compliance with the resort tax laws.
Property owners found not in compliance had to pay past due resort taxes on their rental properties, in addition to any past due sales tax.
For the June resort tax collections, Anna Maria Island cities contributed $457,962, or 59.7 percent of the total.
Holmes Beach collected $258,911 in June resort taxes, while Anna Maria brought in $122,188. Bradenton Beach collected $76,863.
When combined with the $90,000 collected on Longboat Key, the barrier islands contributed $547,962 in June resort taxes, or 68.7 percent of the total.
For the past four years, the three island cities and Longboat Key have brought in about 62 percent of the annual resort tax collections.
The resort tax began in the 1989-90 fiscal year as a result of a state statute. The initial tax in Manatee County was 3 percent and $1.427 million was collected the first year.
In 2003, county commissioners increased the tax to 4 percent. That year, $2.9 million was collected on accommodations.
The present 5 percent resort tax rate was approved by county commissioners in June 2009.