Sacramento Airbnb guests may start paying more

Guests staying in a Sacramento Airbnb may see a 12 percent increase in their stay thanks to a new Transient Occupancy Tax.

The city of Sacramento is missing out on some visitors' taxes.

A unanimous vote Tuesday evening at the city council meeting is set to change that.

Airbnb is part of what's called the "sharing economy." Got a decent car and want to make some extra cash? Drive for Lyft or Uber. Got an extra room or entire home to rent out to strangers? Become an Airbnb host.

That's what Joanne Miyao has done for the past three years. She lives in Arden-Arcade, but owns a home in the Land Park neighborhood. She estimates she has booked more than 150 stays at her home in that time.

"I'm renting my whole house, yes," Miyao said. "It's good income, and you meet a lot of nice people."

But nationwide, cities and counties are formalizing their relationships with Airbnb, as hotels and motels complain that Airbnb is cutting into their business — and not paying their fair share of the same kinds of taxes.

Last year, Sacramento started requiring Airbnb hosts to get a Short Term Rental Permit, which Miyao now has, and collects a 12 percent tax from guests.

"I wasn't going to really increase my rent for it. I was just going to pay it," Miyao said.

And she did. Miyao paid what's called the Transient Occupancy Tax out of her own pocket.

Then on Tuesday evening, in a unanimous vote, the Sacramento City Council members approved an agreement between Airbnb and the city. Airbnb will now collect that 12 percent tax online, so hosts don't have to.

"I didn't feel comfortable doing that, so I'm really glad Airbnb is going to do it for me," Miyao said. "That's wonderful. I'm really happy."

Brad Wasson, Sacramento's revenue manager for the Finance Department, said it's kind of difficult for these hosts to collect the tax.

"It's much more efficient if the time a guest is booking a room, that they pay the room rent and the tax at the same," Wasson said.

That does mean, however, that guests staying in a Sacramento Airbnb may see a 12 percent increase in their stay, if hosts weren't collecting the tax before.

The change will go into effect Sept. 1, Wasson said.

The city will definitely see a boost in those tax dollars. Airbnb has more than 450 hosts in the city of Sacramento, but the city says only about 30 people have obtained a permit at this point and are paying the taxes.

This new agreement will mean every booking in Sacramento will include that 12 percent tax, which Airbnb will pay right to the city, monthly.

"They still need to get our permit," Wasson said. "But they won't have to remit monthly."

Nationwide, Airbnb has collected and paid to more than 250 US cities and counties more than $270 million in local hotel occupancy-type taxes. Sacramento's Airbnb bookings will now be contributing to that figure.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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