Conflicted About How To Review

The guest could have easily been confused that the tax was already collected and paid when he saw the Airbnb breakdown with the state sales tax added. I’m in VA also, and Air has made this unnecessarily confusing by referring to its collection of VA sales tax as “occupancy tax.” I guess it wouldn’t hurt to send one last “request money” through the resolution center with the TOT amount and a note: “Airbnb ONLY collects 6% state sales tax, not the local occupancy tax, which I am required to collect and pay in order to keep my hosting license. Thank you for taking care of this by sending $xx at your earliest convenience.”

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In fact, my local VA government has had to send a notice to all licensed hosts that Airbnb is NOT collecting the TOT. They must have noticed a drop in revenue. I doubt if many of the hosts had even educated themselves that they had to collect and pay VA state sales tax, were probably not doing it, so they saw a notice from Air about “occupancy tax” collection and it was a seamless-appearing transfer of responsibility to them.

It is stated, clearly, in the listing that Air does not collect/pay the local tax and that it is required, by law, to be collected and paid by the host. It is stated several times, and I explain it several times. I do not charge an additional cleaning fee, I raised my rates for that reason. I think I hesitate to increase my fee to cover the local tax because then am I not being charged the state tax on the local tax (by Air, to pay the state)? I’m already uncomfortable that my cleaning fee is being included as if it is lodging for taxation purposes. I do hate that it is separate, although only one person has ever really objected. I never said I wasn’t going to absorb the tax. I think it is a significant amount, but still not worth the bad will. I want to be fair to the guy, and not let my emotions get the best of me.

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I might approach this from another angle…call Airbnb and have them earn their fee.

Say “hey, I accommodated this guest on short notice and followed your advice on not discussing taxes before he checked in. He hasn’t paid and you guys put me in a tough spot. What can you do to help?”

They can deal w the guest and collect payment. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pay you out of their pocket.

I agree with KKC; you have almost 2 weeks to let this play out. The result will affect your review.

In the future, I know it’s kinda awkward, but hold people at the door. This exercise strengthens your backbone…a necessary thing for a good host!
If I don’t have ALL the things I need, no door code set, and I greet them at the door. “We need to settle up on xyz thing.” The whole gang can come in, but booker and I have work to do. If that means we sit in the family room navigating the website or calling Airbnb, so be it.

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Why should you eat a bill that the guest was completely aware had to be paid? Not made aware once, but multiple times.

I’m going to get crap for this - but why did you let him check in without paying the tax bill up-front as in your Rules?

Of course he’s blowing you off. Your listing mentions the taxes (I hope), you mentioned them at least 3 times via Air’s messenger, and you reminded him again.

Score him low on house rules, communication, and whatever else.

And send him a bill - again.

This is a business.

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And decisions need to be made with that in mind. What is the best business decision here when you weigh the possibility of a bad review for a new host with few reviews? Hmmm…

Either way @momovich and hopefully some of us will learn something here.

RR

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You should be able to add local taxes and Air will collect them and send them to you so you can pay your local tax authority. As @RiverRock said, if you call Customer Disservice they should be able to enable it for your account. If you get the usual airhead that doesn’t understand, ask to speak to a supervisor.

As this whole thread reveals, the title of my post is “conflicted”, and you can see why. When I read @casailinglady post I agree, completely and that’s that. Then I see @RiverRock and step back. At least I’m getting some exercise!

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One thing that has stopped me is a local “$2 per room per night fee” which will inevitably vary with each guest. Vrbo, interestingly, makes it easy to collect on their platform because I can just call it a property fee and it is automatically collected at the correct amount. I suppose when I call Air about it, if they can’t figure out a way to collect it for me, as it is not a percentage, I can just absorb it.

Yes, the listing mentions the taxes. I allowed the whole emergency, last minute crunch thing distract me from good business practices.

It’s also easy to imagine an Airbnb CS rep, who has probably never run a business and is unaware of various tax types, assuring the guest that yes, Airbnb added and collected the occupancy tax, although we’ll never know.

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Did the guest say he’d retaliate with a bad review in messenger? That will get his review taken down. Also, host can leave a poor communication and HR rating, as they should.

If he gives a bad review, the host can reply to that saying “retaliation because had to hound for tax bill he knew about at time of booking.” That would tell me I might not want that guest.

Their emergencies are real. However, we shouldn’t react emotionally to their problems. Here’s another step back for you! :wink:

That does not help the host one bit, the bad review for a new host will drag down their score and affect bookings.

RR

UPDATE: The guest has left a review! I did not expect that! I was also surprised to find a note, left on the whiteboard in the apartment saying, “Thank you”, and signed with his name (I had missed it, earlier). I just think that shows a bit of humanity and connection that is nice. The tax has not been paid. I have not spoken with Air about it. I don’t know whether to mention the tax in the review for the benefit of future hosts, or keep it in the private response, to educate him. So, back to the original question, “how to review”? He can edit his review, can’t he?

For 48 hours or until the review period runs out. I still don’t understand why the tax can’t be collected via the resolution center. I’ve gotten my pet fee requests 100% of the time. It should be in the same category.

Seems like a great guest, I’d give a 5 star review.

Well, I checked, and my original request via the Resolution Center is still outstanding. If I thought he intended to rip future hosts off, I would definitely state something public. However, after all of my recent prattle, I don’t want to be hard-nosed about it. If I say anything, I will say it privately.

Did you send him the direct link to the reso center? It looks like this. Send it via text message if he isn’t responding to Airbnb messages.

https://www.airbnb.com/resolutions/xxxxxxxxx

No, I sent it just using the Resolution Center which goes to his email, I think, but that is the way I have sent all of my requests (pet fees, etc) and have never had an issue. Everyone has always gotten the requests. I remember reading that you posted, before, about sending the direct link. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but as I hadn’t had any issues I didn’t follow up.

I’ve had several issues with people not finding or claiming to not find it. It’s so much easier to just send the link immediately upon creation. No more “where do I find it questions.” Of course I have to do this about 4-6 times a month with the pet fees.