Anyone have a good example of a letter to resist new taxes (US based)?

WA is now considering an excise tax of up to 10% on Short Term Rentals to be used to fund affordable housing. I am gathering data to send to our state senator with my concerns and wondered if anyone has a letter that would be a good model. Also, any WA hosts please consider doing the same.

A bit of background - in WA we already pay an Occupancy (sales and hotel/motel) tax and report income on our Federal taxes. My county also accesses a “Personal Property” Tax on any items used for business purposes. Fortunately we do not currently (!) have a state income tax.

In my letter I plan to point out the number of rentals in our senator’s district, broken down into in-home sites vs whole unit (almost equally divided) and point out that many of the whole units rentals are actually mother-in-law apartments or guest houses on the owners property, both of which would not be in the general housing market anyway. Airbnb is not consuming a large percentage of available housing. In an area of about 300,000 people there are only 222 listings. 96 are private rooms or shared spaces, 19 are hotel rooms and the rest are whole unit. I haven broken them down into apartments, houses, suites, etc. yet.

Anythig else I should point out?

Please share your letters (especially if your area has been sucessful in avoiding further taxation!)


Honestly, I think that it is a really cool idea. I understand that it will cut into your profits, but it seems fair enough. And, hey, it’s better than them prohibiting short term rentals entirely, which would be effectively a 100% tax :wink:


Sorry I can’t help - but I think it’s a great idea that other states/countries should follow. @Terryathome

Perhaps there’s a local host group for your area where you could connect with other hosts to lobby against this .

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I understand there needs to be a revenue stream to fund affordable housing but to put a burden on a small, rather insignificant industry (STRs) and ignore the elephant in the room - hotels/motels seems a bit unfair. I need updated figures but a couple of years ago it the average Airbnb made $6000 per year. I mentioned our area has 222 Airbnbs - we also have 4,576 hotel rooms. How much more money would be generated if the ultimate short term rental – hotels/motels- were included rather than potentially driving out a small time homeowners trying to supplement their income. If it must pass, target hotels/motels and STRs in large cities/urban areas only if it can be demonstrated there is a lack of affordable housing resulting from STR investment and target investors with multiple properties (5 or more? 10 or more?)
It would also be a great idea if hotels/motels had to pay a property tax on their beds, linens, lamps, trash cans, soap dishes etc (literally everything a guest can access) like we do.


I used to be in a role where I handled complaints about new policies, decisions etc. It might just be me, but I more seriously considered letters that were not 100% pro of con. For example people who suggested a lower % tax or excluding a particular group. Even a graduated role out of a policy often helps all parties adjust. Sometimes people just had a better solution to which I was willing to listen.


Hostels and hotels are not removing housing from the private rental market and pushing up housing prices @Terryathome


From a UK perspective, nether are STR properties. Very often local authorities push this myth to cover their own failings in providing social housing at affordable rents.

Any local authority who want to impose additional taxation on STR, when they already have a licencing fee and an occupancy tax, essentially wants their slice of cake twice round.

Get organised and tell them to do one.


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Be grateful there is a way to continue without being shut down entirely. They are in control and in the drivers seat. I would encourage it and try to be the good guy.

I think that is a joke and an “untruth”. It might be if they mix in those who test their feet, or list once for an event, …but overall…hmmm. The “222 airbnbs” in your area…are they rooms?..are they full homes? I suspect most well run and properly priced full homes make in excess of 6 figures before expenses.

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Well, my listing only ever brings in about $3000/year and I’m not testing my feet or only list for an event. It’s a private room in my home, I’ve been a host for 4 years, but the tourist season where I live is only about 5-6 months. So even though I’d be happy to have year-round bookings, it just isn’t possible here unless I went long-term, which I’m not the slightest bit interested in- I don’t want a roommate.

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I still believe you are an anomaly in the scheme of things of the entirety of AirBnb and the true stats.

I also feel that AirBnb “ate” the other preexisting structures. You are a “true AirBnb” concept. But there are a few of us left who rented STR via VRBO plus rental agencies prior to the birth and domination of AirBnb. We thrived and we existed without angry neighbors, nor intrusive concepts about affecting housing prices. The travelers understood the trade and were communicative and clean. Once ABB went mainstream, and took control, and then became a household word, and also enticed my uncle, brother and mother to invest in an STR, that was detrimental to those of us who relied upon the income of STR for many years.


those 200 full homes will grow to 1000 or more without regulations before you can bat an eye.

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What I would love to see is someone start a platform where there are only those traditional type live-like-a-local listings. Private rooms or studios in the host’s home, outbuildings that have been converted to a rental, glamping on the host’s property, hands-on, on-site host type listings. Catering to guests who are looking for just that and understand the concept.

I know there’s been a few started, but they seem to peter out because they just can’t capture the market.


In my area: 94 are private rooms, 2 are shared space (couches),
4 are campers, 122 are “Entire” House, apartment, condo (one of the entire home listings is cross listed with 2 rooms - the owner moves out when she rents the entire place/blocks entire place if a room is rented)

There are an additional 19 hotel rooms listed.
I have one of the private rooms in-home and revenue falls below the median.
To me this says that almost half of the offerings are not properties that would be in the housing market, therefore, are not taking away from available housing. Those that remain are not taking away affordable housing. A point I plan on including in the letter to the senator.

I didn’t finish updating my list but I think only 2 of the hosts are ones with multiple properties - one has 6 rooms in her home, the other has 3 homes.

Today I found this on a blog as far as rental income: Airbnb Median Income $440 per month (52.7% earn less than $500 per month.) The average is $924. (higher than I had but my $6000/year number was from a couple of years ago I didn’t spend a lot of time researching - other jobs demanded my time! If anyone has better numbers I would be interested in seeing them.

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Who’s to say they aren’t, @Helsi? For every hotel there is you could technically host an apartment in its place…

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I started hosting through Airbnb in 2012 and do miss those simpler times.

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Update: The bill was sent on to the Way and Means Committee where it looks like it will die for this year. I spoke to the senator’s office and an aide told me the deadline for action has passed and unless someone pushes it, the bill will end there. It can, however, be revived for next year. The impression I got was that they had an abundance of bills and this one wuld not generate enough income to get through.

I would still like to hear if others have had any experience with thid kind of thing.

That isn’t the point. The point is that when people start buying up homes and apartments that were formerly long term rentals, or owner-occupied, for the sole purpose of turning into strs, locals who live and work and are raising families in those locations can no longer find affordable housing.

That’s different from someone turning an old outbuilding on the property where they live into an str, building a tiny house on their property, renting out their spare rooms, or doing renos to their homes to create a private suite with its own entrance.

Those situations haven’t taken any housing off the market for locals.

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Yes. This is when it’s worth joining your statewide destination tourism organization (and getting a listing on their site, even if it’s just a link to your Air listing). In my state, it’s a statewide nonprofit, but in VT it’s a state agency with a web site at

for the travel industry, and

for the public.

Get on their legislative email list. Most of them have an annual convention, usually at the end of the high season, where industry issues are discussed.

And join your local tourism bureau because the bed taxes you collect probably fund them, and going to the occasional meeting or social is a great way to make contacts. Networking really helped in getting referrals from other folks in the industry — my tour company got a lot of referrals from B&Bs, yacht charters, charter fishing captains, and airline folks.