FYI - Airbnb Hosts in Massachusetts - Taxes

I was working on my taxes for my accountant and went in the Dept. of Revenue MA (DOR) website (I have another business so I’m used to doing quarterly estimates).

I noticed that my Airbnb Account on the DOR website was flagged with a message for every month. I called DOR and was told that my taxes that Airbnb is charging the guest due to our new law is not being paid. They are the intermediary and by MA law they are required to be paying this tax . He said as long as I submitted my certificate number (and I verified this) that I was off the hook. He also said they are probably going to have to sue Airbnb.

Like Uber and the orange person occupying the White House, AirBnB thinks that they are above the law. I hope that the Commonwealth’s Attorney General sues the shit out of them. You might call your local state house rep and state senator and ask them to change the law so that Air does what they are now doing in a number of places, including where I live: Allow hosts to enter the taxes in the listing, Air collects the tax and includes it in payouts, and then I file a return and pay my local sales and room tax.

The problem air is having is probably their desire to pay a lump sum to your taxing entity without identifying which hosts it comes from to “protect host privacy”. That’s really a BS argument. Air should stop trying to help hosts evade the law and just let all of us enter the tax in the listing, just like I can do.

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Good to know! It would be interesting to hear if any MA hosts get audited.

I’m a City of Boston host. I’m planning on doing my taxes with Turbo Tax and so have started to collect all my tax forms and data from Airbnb. I can see in the .csv transaction history/gross earnings that occupancy taxes were paid by Airbnb but it doesn’t break out separately what was paid to the state and what was paid to the city of Boston. Does an airbnb host from MA and the City of Boston who has filed their taxes for 2019 know if this information will be necessary to know when I go to file my state taxes?

I called MassConnect to see if they could provide me with this info and was told only Airbnb could this this with me. When I talked to Airbnb they told me that they do no provide this info to hosts.

As noted in another post, when I log into Mass Connect I see a 0 balance and a exclamation in a red triangle. Mass Connect told me that since airbnb is paying the occupancy taxes directly there is no action I need to take unless I was renting out my place directly to a renter in which base I would need to file a return for that period.

I just called the Inspectional Services Department for the City of Boston to find out if they could share any tax records with me about Airbnb taxes and was told that they are not collecting occupancy taxes for Airbnbs in Boston. I was surprised by this because the city announced last year that they would be collecting 6.5% on each airbnb stay. Can another Boston airbnb host confirm the fact that the state is collecting an occupancy tax of 5.7% and the City is collecting $0?

MA DOR also told me that I should talk to Airbnb but I explained that it would be a hopeless exercise. I’m not in Boston so I don’t know about city taxes but I do know that Airbnb is considered an intermediary as defined by the MA law and I think they should be collecting both but that’s not a professional opinion.

I was able to confirm that airbnb has been paying occupancy taxes for my guests stays directly to the state of MA and see it in my transaction history/gross earnings so that’s a big relief! I was very surprised to learn that only the state is charging my guests an occupancy fee of 5.7% after it was announced in the local media and newspapers that that the city was planning to charge an additional 6.5% starting June 1st. In fact I started collecting this fee directly from my guests via a special request until in a call to airbnb customer service I was informed that this fee was being collected by Airbnb from my guest on my behalf. At the time I wasn’t able to see an occupancy charge for each stay but that is now visible and posted in the transaction history.

I’m delighted that the City of Boston decided not to charge the fee because a 12.2% fee (5,7% - state and 6.5% - city) would have deterred many of my airbnb guests.

I don’t know why, when hotels have to charge the same taxes.

My city just raised the bed tax by 2%, supposedly to pay for major repairs at our convention center, so it’s now 5% sales tax + 9% room tax = 14%. I just changed the taxes Air can collect, pass to me in my payout, and then I pay the city when I file my quarterly return.

State laws states, note the italicized portion:

“(b) An intermediary collecting and remitting the excise on behalf of an operator shall provide notification within a reasonable time to the operator that the excise has been collected and remitted to the commissioner pursuant to section 3. The notification may be delivered in hand or by mail or conveyed by electronic message, mobile or smart phone application or another similar electronic process, digital media or communication portal. An operator shall not be responsible
for collecting and remitting the excise on a transaction for which the operator has received notification from an intermediary that the excise has been collected and remitted to the commissioner on their behalf.

However, if you’re the operator of a STR accommodation for which you take reservations offline, and you’re not a registered B&B home establishment which is exempt from collecting the room occupancy excise tax, you are responsible for collecting the tax from guests for stays shorter than 30 consecutive nights.

I’m a relatively new host (Oct 2020) on the Southcoast of Mass. Back when I created my listing, I gave Airbnb my cert number, and they noted that they will pay occupancy taxes. I just checked my yearly gross revenue statements and there is a $0 amount for occupancy taxes. I’m concerned that now I will be on the the hook for my 2020 occ taxes. Has this happened to anyone else?

I noticed this about 8 months ago on my account and called the DOR in MA and they said that per the law Airbnb should be submitting and they DOR needs to go after Airbnb but I honestly am concerned too. I would call the DOR and ask them the question too and see if you get the same answer. Please let me now.

Airbnb has advised me that for stays over 30 days, they do not submit occupancy taxes to the state of Massachusetts. Airbnb DID submit the taxes for my shorter stays.

did they charge the guests the tax? I find it hard to imagine that they have the sophistication to distinguish during the booking process.

Also, I would not go with what Airbnb advised and call DOR. My account still says they have not paid.