Lawmakers Debating Taxes on Timeshare Trades

An article in today's Orlando Sentinel details how Florida lawmakers are debating whether to adjust the manner in which taxes are applied to room reservations within the state.  The new guidelines could be extended into the realm of timeshare trades, but some officials are amenable to working with timeshare industry officials to avoid such a move. 

The debate brewing concerns whether Internet broker mark-ups should be subject to state and county taxes.  Currently brokers like Exepdia purchase large blocks of rooms from hotels and pay resort taxes based upon the rate at which they obtained the rooms.  The broker will then apply their own mark-up and offer rooms to the general public.  At present, additional hotel and sales taxes are not applied to the broker's mark-up. 

Auditors suggest that if the broker mark-ups were taxed, it would generate more than $5 million annually in additional revenue for Orange County alone. 

The danger is that this same logic could be used to tax timeshare trades through companies like Interval International, a move which would impact millions of timeshare owners including Disney Vacation Club members.   Fortunately at least one lawmaker appears amenable to excluding timeshare trades from the new laws. 

According to the Sentinel article from Jason Garcia and Sara K. Clarke, the companies opposed to the additional taxes recently gained an ally in their fight:

Although some legislators say the state should find new revenue sources to help lessen budget cuts, [Senator Mike] Haridopolos says that starting to collect sales and hotel taxes in areas where they aren't already collected would only hurt tourism by driving up the cost of a vacation in Florida. Another Central Florida lawmaker who chairs a similar panel in the House, Rep. Frank Attkisson, R- St. Cloud, said he also plans to take up the issue.

Haridopolos instructed Senate staffers to work with Expedia and others to draft a measure declaring the markups off-limits to sales and hotel taxes.

Those discussions have also included the time-share industry, which is lobbying for its own tax benefits.
Chief among them is ensuring that time shares reserved through "exchange" programs -- such as Miami-based Interval International, which facilitates time-share swaps among owners -- aren't taxable.

Click HERE to view the entire story on OrlandoSentinel.com .
 

 

 

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