Airbnb to start collecting taxes in Anchorage on behalf of municipality
The Municipality of Anchorage is about to strike a deal with popular home-sharing site Airbnb that could make finding a place to stay a little more expensive.
The municipality has a 12 percent bed tax that all hotel operators, as well as bed-and-breakfasts, are required to pay. Treasury officials want to make sure those sharing their homes on Airbnb and other online sites pay their share, too.
“There is potentially an area in the market right now where the people, individual homeowners, property owners are renting out on a short-term basis but not collecting the tax,” municipal treasurer Dan Moore said.
Bed tax funds are used primarily to promote tourism in Anchorage, according to Moore.
For many people, Airbnb is a simple way to make a little extra money.
Tess and Devon Jones started renting out rooms in their South Anchorage home just this month using the online company.
“We get people from all over. Some people from Alaska, some people from out of town and even some people inquiring from out of the country,” Tess Jones said.
Not all Airbnb hosts know the rules when it comes to taxes. They should be paying a bed tax to the municipality but officials say not everyone is doing that.
Tuesday night, the Anchorage Assembly passed a measure to simplify the process. It allows Airbnb to collect the 12 percent tax from its Anchorage operators on behalf of the municipality.
“They will actually set up their platform so it captures the room tax for every transaction that occurs on their platform. Then what a business like Airbnb would do is, on a quarterly basis, they would send us returns that would report the activity and would also pay us the tax,” Moore said.
Moore hopes that streamlining the process will make things a little easier for the 300-plus Airbnb hosts listed in the Anchorage area on the company’s website.
The deal should be finalized soon, according to Moore. He says Airbnb could start collected and remitting taxes for the city as early as July 1.
The municipality is expecting to collect about $27 million from the bed tax this year. By partnering with Airbnb and other home-sharing sites, it could generate an extra $200,000 for the city in just the first year.
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