Taxes for Airbnb hosts haven’t been the clearest in the past. A new agreement between the hospitality service and Allegany County should now make it easier. On top of that, rural areas are seeing an increase in Airbnb usage.
Airbnb can now collect and remit hotel and motel room tax on behalf of hosts in the county. Allegany becomes the 27th county in the state to reach a tax agreement. Larger counties like Erie and Niagara have yet to do so.
Northeast Press Secretary Liz DeBold Fusco said that’s because counties with big cities tend to take longer to reach an agreement because there’s more hosts to take account for.
“For example, what we saw with Monroe County, where you have Rochester. Those just take a while because there’s always other things that have to be considered,” said Fusco.
Data from Airbnb shows close to 25,000 guests visited rural-designated counties in Western New York over the past year up from a little over 12,000 the year prior. Fusco says Airbnb’s communities in rural counties are their fastest growing.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth just in the past year. Certainly the additional tax revenue that will come in to these counties and support local tourism efforts will only continue to help that growth,” she said.
Ellicottville, Jamestown and Bemus Point were the top rural points. Hosts in rural Western New York made just over $3 million this past year.
Fusco said in counties where there are not tax agreements, hosts are required to do their research and pay their taxes on their own.
“But we know that our hosts are not big hotel corporations. They’re small families, they might be seniors, they might be single moms,” said Fusco. “They may not be totally aware of the taxes that they have to pay and probably do not have a team of accountants who can figure it out for them.”
Airbnb said they remitted over $1 million in hotel and motel tax revenue in 2017 alone.
“First, our hosts are very busy. They are sharing their home in their spare time and they may not be completely familiar with the additional tax liability that they face when they begin sharing their home. So this certainly simplifies the process for them,” said Fusco. “Second, it ensures that the county is getting the full amount of tax revenue that it’s owed.”