Push for short-term rental tax has Airbnb owners uneasy

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 4:51 PM EDT
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TOWN OF LYME, New York (WWNY) - “I think it’s just going to backfire,” said Amanda Miller.

Miller doesn’t want a new occupancy tax on her 4 short-term rentals she books through Airbnb, saying it’ll drive tourists away.

But there are a few Jefferson County village and town officials who are pushing for it to happen.

County Administrator Robert Hagemann holds three letters from three municipalities. The town and village of Clayton, and a 2021 letter from the Town of Lyme, asking for an occupancy tax.

Right now, hotels pay that tax. Short term rentals do not.

“One of the ideas being that the field should be more even, and right now there is no tax in terms of bed tax for those types of operations,” said Hagemann.

It would require short-term rental owners to pay the same 3% tax placed on hotels. With more people staying in short-term rentals, town and village leaders worry about losing out on more tax revenue.

One of several waterfront Airbnb’s Miller owns, when it comes to the tax, she says she hopes there can be some sort of compromise between the owners of these properties and the communities they’re located in.

“Maybe just a registering tax when you register your Airbnb, or just a yearly fee,” said Miller.

Hagemann says these are only discussions and legislation is pending in Albany addressing relationships involving short-term rental companies and local communities..

“Until that’s decided, right now, VRBO’s and Airbnb and more type of operations, aren’t moving forward with agreements with local communities or more importantly, the counties,” said Hagemann.