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Collecting local sales and accomadations tax

#1

Hi, Airbnb suggests collecting sales tax in person, adding it into the rental rate or collecting it via special offer. Is anyone, or do you know of anyone who collects via special offer? What is the wording you use to inform the traveler about it and how do they react?

#2

Don’t do it through the system. You’ll have a new amount that’s higher and commissionable on the tax. State up front in your listing that tax is due in cash and get it on the payout amount. Tax is due upon arrival in cash. I give them the amount due when they book.

#3

Specify in your listing, in more than one space, that tax is due at check-in and the tax rate. Then, as Konacoconutz said, tell them immediately when they book.

I make up a little envelope with their name, dates, and the tax amount. I leave it on their desk in the room. I’ve never had a problem…until today. I had neglected to tell a booking about the tax - she booked 5 months ago. When I mentioned the tax today, she questioned it, since she’s staying in many airbnbs on her trip and not had to pay it. Luckily she had a review from a listing in San Francisco, so I looked at the listing and sure enough, the taxes were added. When I explained that air charges taxes in some cities but not all, she understood. However, since I didn’t feel good hitting her with an unexpected charge, I gave her a discount on the room which would lower her fees and her taxes. She was happy, and so am I.

I have a dream - that one day - all listings - dc ones and san fran ones, ones in my city, and ones nearby…will all have the taxes added,

#4

The little white envelope works like a charm. I write their name, dates of stay and tax amount. Often, right when they arrive they don’t have the cash ready, so I tell them to pop it under the welcome mat upstairs (what a welcome!)… Then I file the envelope into my index card holder which stashes the tax until it’s time to pay. I also have my license posted in the room so they can see it’s legit. Also sometimes I apologize for having to collect tax… “So sorry, I really hate having to collect tax but they make it just impossible to avoid!” Most people say it’s ok, that they don’t mind at all.

#5

@konacoconutz Thanks for your advice. I am not an on site host so your method will not work for me. I have been adding the tax into my rate which as you point out subjects it to the service fee and makes my rate look higher and in general is a bookkeeping nightmare. It also makes it sort of complicated to set my rates so that I end up with the same income as I get on other sites that have a tax line item.

@dcmooney Thanks for your input as well. I have a dream too - that one day Airbnb will simply put a tax line item into their system for those of us who require it.

I am trying to find out if anyone actually uses the special offer method of collecting sales tax and if so how they do it and how it works. I would prefer not adding it into my rate but the envelope method is not going to work for me.

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#6

This is one of the few areas where Air is behind the curve. Other sites at least allow you to figure the tax into the bill, even if they don’t directly remit it. That’s a huge positive over dealing in cash and potential shock at the door. I know they’re trying to go about it by getting laws and agreements in place, but that is a slow process. In the meantime, throw us a bone.

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#7

KIKC: Even if you do a special offer it will do the exactly same thing. Add it to your nightly rate, which then becomes commissionable. (A special offer is basically the same thing as adding it into your rate. No different.) Is there a way you can leave the envelope in your room and have your cleaning service collect it? Tell your guests to leave the tax, have the cleaning service check and collect it for you?

Or have the guest send it up front by PayPal? Or by check? This could work for me because I’m in Hawaii so most guests plan their trips far in advance.

Even if Air adds a line item for tax, it will still become part of your commissionable total. FlipKey does this… And it is completely worthless!

Tax is a bugaboo… One that the hosts are stuck with trying to sort out.

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