Updated: Feb 16
Have the white, sandy beaches and emerald green waters of 30A been calling your name? Have you ever thought of investing in a vacation property in the area and are stuck with an onslaught of questions and don't know where to start?
Lets discuss Walton Counties "House Rules" and everything else you will need to know before investing in 30A.
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House Rules: Permits, Taxes, and Registering
Compared to other places around the country with heavy restrictions, the local Walton County government is actually a strong advocate in the area for STR's (we will talk about their bed tax below and why that might be). I have heard numbers as high as 75% for the percentage of properties on 30A that are used as investments.
However, there are some key things you will need to know regarding operating, permitting, and taxes.
#1: Do I need a Permit?
In Walton County, you do NOT need a permit.
NO PERMITS OF ANY KIND.
If you are coming from a heavily regulated area, this will come as a great relief. There are many reasons for this but mainly Tourism is the main industry in the area.
#2: Walton County and the Bed Tax
Walton County and the Bed Tax is a common way for the county (as well as other counties in Florida) to generate revenue to assist with their other programs.
If you are in South Walton (south of the Choctawhatchee Bay) the Bed Tax is 5%.
If you are in North Walton (north of the Choctawhatchee Bay) The Bed Tax is 2%.
See more about that here.
What other taxes should I be aware of?
In addition to the Tourist Development Tax, you also must collect and set aside state sales tax (current rate of 6%) and local sales tax (current rate of 1%)
So if you are in the South Walton / 30A area, you will need to set aside 12% of your income from your rental property for total tax. If you are in North Walton, that rate drops to 9%.
You are exempt from the Bed Tax if you rent your property for periods longer than six months. Also, if your rental is made for business related reasons and you are a government-employed individual, non-profit organization, etc. you may be exempt. Find out more here.
Why does the Bed Tax exist? Is it legal? What does it go to?
The Bed Tax was proposed and re-signed into active law in January 2021. See the full Ordinance here.
Yes it is legal, and goes to growing the local area. Whether that be through the beach management programs, code compliance forces, or the TDC and their daily beach cleaning efforts with free trash removal. Preservation of our local resources are a priority.
You will also see many advertisements for the local area which helps draw more people to the area, increasing demand for the Emerald Coast and helping out local businesses!
#3: Register Your Rental
The main ingredient in operating your Rental in 30a is making sure the county is aware you are using your property as a rental. This is a straightforward form that can be found here.
If you are using your property as a rental for any period of time between one day and six months, you will need the form above submitted.
Once that is completed you are good to go!
A great resource for info in Walton County / 30A rental policies or for any other FAQ's can be found here.
Their phone number is: 850.267.2040
You can contact me with any questions at 850.517.6129, or by simply responding to this email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Referral fees welcomed at 30%.
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I am a dually licensed Realtor in both FL and TN. Based in Destin, FL with Premier Property Group and Nashville, TN with Parks Realty. Referrals are welcomed at 30%.