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Airbnb to collect Texas occupancy tax... will that expose hosts to local regulators?

We rent out a room in our house but can’t conform to the increasingly strict local short term rental requirements, so we don’t have the local short term rental license. That seems to be pretty common here, with many listings just ignoring the overly strict local regulations.

But I’m concerned what will happen now that Airbnb is going to start collecting state occupancy tax in May for all Texas Airbnb listings. Does that mean our local regulators will see our property address?

That’s an interesting question. My guess would be yes.

I’m in El Paso and not yet required to have a license. If I’m required to have one in the future I’ll either get it or quit hosting.

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Out of interest @dot what do you need to do in terms of your rental that means a short term license is something you don’t feel you can apply for?

We don’t have them here yet but interested in how it works for others.

The tax collection is usually the result of a bill or legislation. All the terms are in the legislation so I suggest you look it up online. The sharing of private customer information with government agencies though has been a big sticking point and something that Air has been opposed to.

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They may not see your actual property address, unless you mention it in your ad, but they will see the city or town you advertise in. Why do you believe you cannot meet the STR requirements? Renting out a room in your house is actually the essence of AirBnB.

We don’t want to register with the city because they would publish our personal contact info online, so we’re concerned about that for privacy reasons since it’s our personal residence. But also they would come inspect the house, which aside from being invasive, I’m afraid they could flag us for who knows what, including things like unpermitted construction that may have been done by a previous owner. The current Austin city council is openly hostile towards all short term rentals and wants to ban them completely, so we just want to stay off their radar until the situation improves.

I suspect none of us will really know for sure when information Airbnb will have to share with the state, but if anyone has been in a similar situation in another state where Airbnb remits taxes, they may have some input.

No. The tax is not remitted with individual information.

This is a good thing for sure, but it does seem too good to be true. Is the state just going to take Airbnb’s word for the tax it collects? Aren’t they going to want to know the source of the revenue?

ABB enters into an agreement with the state to submit the taxes. The state wants the money. The agreement comes with confidentiality clause including not revealing identities. They may want to know the source, but ABB is refusing to give it. If the states wants ABB to collect and give the money, they have to accept it comes without info. That can change in future, and can change by court order, but for now that is the agreement they are entering.


In my state (NC), Air is remitting in one lump sum similar to Georgygirl’s situation. But I believe they have an agreement to share the data in New Orleans, although the addresses may not be made available to the public (if that is your concern). I don’t know what has transpired since, as they knew they would have to do a lot of testing first to see what works. But here is an article from December:

I thought the concern was that the city could easily shut down/fine the hosts operating without licenses.

Huh? OP mentions several concerns. In addition to being shut down and fined, he also seemed to be concerned with the public seeing personal info:

@cabinhost I was referring to this. I overlooked the second mention of people finding their personal information online.

If that is @dot’s concern there are other things they should be aware of like how easy it is to determine an address using the airbnb map and if they own the property, local property tax records. Here in El Paso County you can find out the owner of any address and the tax value of their home. I have found the addresses of several airbnb properties by spending a little time investigating.

Yes, the concern of local regulators seeing the property address is why I posted the link to the article of how they are sharing data in New Orleans.

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