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Airbnb starts collecting ‘hotel’ tax from some Va. renters

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky speaks during an event Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

WASHINGTON — In a first-of-its-kind deal for a locality in Virginia, Airbnb is now collecting — on behalf of Alexandria — “hotel” taxes from short-term renters of private residences in the city.

Locally, Airbnb also provides that paperwork shortcut for homeowner hosts in D.C. and Montgomery County in Maryland.

“It makes a lot of sense: The tax is being collected on the front end by the platform, so it simplifies for the homeowners,” Alexandria Assistant Director of Finance Kevin Greenlief said.

Short-term rental hosts using other platforms, such as Expedia and Travelocity, need to collect the tax themselves and submit the revenue to the city.

The tax is independent of registry requirements.

Greenlief wants to remind all homeowners offering short-term rentals that they have to register with the city. Registering is free. But failing to do so can cost you.

“If you don’t register, there is a penalty of $500,” Greenlief said.

Alexandria’s Transient Lodging Tax that’s commonly referred to as the “hotel” tax is 8.5 percent of the room rental charge plus $1 per room per night.

Airbnb has 510 hosts across the city of Alexandria. Greenlief said it is expected to generate about $100,000 annually. The money goes into the general fund.


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