If you use a website like Airbnb to book rooms, cabins or cottages, get ready to pay more. Currently, Monroe County collects a 6 percent occupancy tax, Livingston and Seneca Counties both collect 3 percent. Ontario County is considering extending a 3% occupancy tax to private rentals.
If you use a website like Airbnb to book rooms, cabins or cottages, get ready to pay more. A number of local counties either have or will soon start charging tax on your overnight stays. Last week, Monroe County announced that Airbnb will now collect a 6% occupancy tax on each and every rental.
Eric Moon runs The Quiet Place, a website that connects travelers with quiet cabins in the Finger Lakes. Moon owns some of the cabins which are mostly in Ontario County.
Until now, his clients haven’t had to pay tax but that may soon change, “anyone with fewer than 4 rooms is exempt at this point but the county wants to amend the law so that anybody renting anything has to collect and pay an occupancy tax. I've seen a teepee on a guy's deck on Canandaigua lake, $65 buck a night. He's expected to collect an occupancy tax under this new law,” he tells News10NBC.
Clearly, Moon doesn’t support the change.
"Every dollar that a guest has to spend on accommodations, is one less dollar they have to spend in your economy at large,” Moon says.
Counties need state authorization in order to tack on the tax. NYS Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle says he supports it primarily because, “they're providing a service that hotels and motels currently provide and those organizations are typically subject to a bed tax,” he tells News10NBC.
The money from those bed taxes typically gets shared with organizations that help support tourism but Moon says those groups haven’t helped him much, “last year, the traffic to my website from Ontario County Tourism or VisitFingerLakes.com was 0.046%” he says. He also has questions about how the tax collection would be monitored, “there are over 350 Airbnb properties alone in Monroe County, we have more than 300 in Ontario County…are these properties zoned properly? Are the building codes up to snuff? How about health and safety codes? It’s going to cost more to enforce the collection of this tax then the county will even collect in taxes,” Moon says.
Assemblyman Morelle says there’s a lot of people who don’t like where each and every one of their tax dollars go but in the end, those who want to privately rent their homes, should have to play by the same rules hotels and motels do, “they shouldn't have an advantage over people who are already in the marketplace when it comes to tax policy,” he adds.
Currently, Monroe County collects a 6 percent occupancy tax, Livingston and Seneca Counties both collect 3 percent. Ontario County is considering extending a 3% occupancy tax to private rentals.