Massachusetts Bill Calls for Taxing Airbnb, Other Short-Term Rentals

Massachusetts lawmakers have reached a deal on taxing short-term rentals such as those offered through Airbnb.

The compromise reached over the weekend by House and Senate negotiators is expected to go before the House and Senate for an up-or-down vote on Monday. It calls for extending the state's current 5.7 percent hotel tax to most short-term rentals.

Cities and towns would have the option of tacking on an additional 6 percent lodging tax, and another 3 percent if an owner rents out two or more units in the same community.

Airbnb renter Jason Kroaning-Roshay says the deal seems fair to him.

"I think if there's been abuses of the system I’d be willing to pay a little more," Kroaning-Roshay said.

"So long as it's still a little cheaper than hotel rates I still think it's a good service," added Ben Davis, another Airbnb renter.

Democratic Rep. Aaron Michlewitz tells The Boston Globe the measure is one of the strongest short-term rental bills in the country.

"There needs to be some equity related to the hotel industry," said Michlewitz.

Michlewitz, who is behind the bill, said the taxes will level the playing field and raise about $25 million for the state.

The bill is, however, raising privacy concerns as a key component of the plan will create an online registry that shows where every Airbnb in the state is located.

The compromise comes as the Legislature tries to finish work on numerous pending bills before the formal session ends at midnight Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Lodging Association, a lobbying group, applauded the deal.

"It goes a long way toward leveling the playing field for all lodging businesses while maintaining a welcoming environment for new home-sharing platforms," the group said in a statement.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us