In 1988, the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council was created by the Board of County Commissioners to oversee and develop marketing Amelia Island as a world-class tourist destination. The AITDC handles spending the collected tourist development tax and has a ten-member board of directors.

The Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (AICVB) was created in 2008 by the Board of County Commissioners. The AICVB serves as the management company for the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council.

The Amelia Island Tourist Development Council is funded by a 5% tourist tax on short term, six months or less, accommodations. This is not just homes, motels, hotels, and condominiums, but it also includes rooms, boats, RV Parks, and apartments. Owners and property managers are supposed to collect the tax and remit it to the Tax Collector on a monthly basis.

However, Nassau County is missing out on more and more tax dollars every day since the popularity of Air B&B, Vacation Rental by Owner, Homeaway, and other rental services. Currently, no agreements are in place with these brands to collect the funds. If this is a “law”, why would Nassau County need an “agreement” in place? Just “book-em-Dan-O” – they are breaking the law!

If you suspect someone is renting their property and not paying the tax, you can turn them in, but there is no reward offered, and your email is considered public record so there is absolutely no incentive to get involved unless you simply don’t like your neighbor… and that is not very Mr. Rogers-like. I don’t know how much money is at stake, but a reference I used is the fact that EVERYONE I’ve asked looks up Air B&B for lodging BEFORE checking any other source.

In case you were wondering, 1.5% of this Tourist Tax, aka “bed tax”, is given to the Nassau County Tax Collector and the Nassau County Clerk of Courts for an administration fee. The remainder funds the AITDC budget and is broken down this way: 65% advertising and marketing, 15% administrative expenses, 10% travel trade, and 10% for beach improvements. Maybe a small percentage should be allocated to “bed police”. They bust into a tourists room at night, demanding to see their reservation form. If the tax is missing, they haul them off to jail, call the Department of Children and Family services to separate the families, and interrogate the adults until they find out who is renting the property without collecting the required tax.

Folks, this would be the end of tourist season on Amelia Island; which would be fine with many of the people I talk with, after all… if there really is a tourist season, why can’t we shoot and bag them?