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Guest angry about the TOT

I have been doing this for about seven years and I have always collected the tax either through PayPal or Venmo before arrival or cash upon arrival. It is one of the first things I discuss in the description of my home and then I mention it a couple more times, explaining why and when and how much. When I receive a reservation request, I explain it again and I do not accept the reservation until I am sure that the guest understands it and has agreed to it. Santa Barbara does not have an agreement with Airbnb to collect it. I know there are other ways to do it but this is how I have always done it. Here is the conversation I had on the Airbnb platform with the guest that just left:

Me: Please make sure you have read all the information about my home including the part about the county tax which is completely separate from any amount collected on this site and which in this case will be $83. Please confirm. Thank you.

Guest: Thanks yes, confirmed on the county tax. Although it looks like it would be $26320.12 = $63?

“For the privilege of occupancy in any hotel, each transient is subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of twelve percent of the rent charged by the operator.”

“Rent: The consideration charged, whether or not received, for the occupancy of space”

https:// countyofsb.org /ttcpapg/taxcoll/tot.aspx

Me: 625 x .12 plus $4 per night bed tax, as noted in the description of my home.

Guest: ok. got it thanks.

He was of the opinion that the cleaning fee should not be part of it but that is incorrect. I don’t know why he sent me excerpts from the County of Santa Barbara. Obviously I have that information. Anyway, he stopped communicating with me before he and his family arrived, leaving my Airbnb communications and my texts unanswered. I did not meet them until they were leaving and he refused to speak to me or greet me. He would not even say hello. He said “so you want $83? That tax should be on you. If it’s not collected on Airbnb you are just using their platform to collect money. If they don’t collect it that’s your problem and you should pay it.”

I said, “ I explained the tax thoroughly in the description of my home and I also reiterated it to you before I accepted the reservation. If you had an issue with the tax, you should have chosen a different home. It is the same tax that every hotel and every lodging charges.”

Guest said, “A hotel just gives you one price. Why should I have to pay 40% in fees? You only paid Airbnb 3% right? Why should I have to pay more?”

I said,” Actually that’s not correct. When you go online and look for a hotel generally you are shown the room rate and then underneath it is explained that you additionally have to pay occupancy taxes. They also often have resort fees that are not included. I don’t understand about the 40%. The fact that I pay 3% and you pay more is something that is not in my control. The reason why I don’t simply add the tax to the reservation rate Is that then you will pay Airbnb the fee on that amount as well.”

He very begrudgingly and rudely sent me the money on Venmo refusing to look at me and storming off. His father had previously told me what a great time they had and what a fabulous home I have. It is one of the least expensive homes with an ocean view in the area. I keep it that way because I would rather have it rented all the time. The sister also refused to greet me and would not look at me.

The whole thing is frustrating because I know that I am going to get a bad review about something that has nothing to do with my home.

Just needed to vent. Thanks. I’m thinking maybe I will add the professional tools so that I can collect the tax online. I know I looked at them once and there was some reason why I didn’t want to do it but I will explore that option again.


Good idea. We’re lucky that we have no additional taxes to apply, but if we had to I’d want it up front and not have to be an unpaid tax collector for my ayuntiamento.

Can’t think of anything detrimental by using them, and if it takes away the “extra money” issue then sounds like a solid move on your part.



If that bad review ever comes:

“No guest likes to see charges over the base rate. However, [locale] requires that guests pay lodging tax. We do comply with the law by collecting it and remitting it.”


We would never use Paypal - they almost always support the buyer if a dispute is filed, regardless of any proof / contract / etc.
That aside, it looks like you can simply require Guests to do it through the system, and make your life easier:


Only in certain states/counties, as in those that Airbnb have come to an “agreement” with.

As has been demonstrated on here with past topics, many hosts have to collect and submit these taxes themselves.

Only in Amurica, eh? (oh and some parts of Mexico too, I believe)


The OP appears to be in California so …

I would raise my prices to cover it and not burden guests with additional fees. It sucks that Airbnb will get a “cut” of taxes but I would prefer that until Airbnb fixes their tax collecting structure.

That’s true. I have urged the County of Santa Barbara several times to enter into that agreement. It is to their advantage because there are many hosts that are simply not in compliance and if they had that agreement the compliance would be forced and the county would make more money. And I would have less paperwork. As much as I appreciate these responses, selfishly what I was really looking for was for someone to say, yes that is outrageous that he agreed to pay the tax and then refused to. I was looking for empathy but apparently I need to get a life :slight_smile:


Yes, that is outrageous.





Zactly. My guests never know about the local lodging tax as I just roll it into the price and silently remit it.

Airbnb is newly required to collect across my entire U.S. state as of September 1, however, they appear to not be complying as I do not see it in my guest invoices. Local officials are sending annoyed legal letters to the company. I predict this will not be sorted out speedily.

I was just about to say it :wink:. Remember when it meant something to give your word? “Make your yes mean yes and your no mean no.” Period. Integrity seems a lost virtue for some (many).

I do hope you have an honest review prepared as I surely would not want to host someone like him.

Oh, and the tax situation is “irrelevant” and outside your control. If that’s the majority of the review you can have it removed as it’d be a violation of Air’s policy - so let’s hope they mess up in what they write if they are going to be unfair.


You really need to do this. I have had ZERO problems with it, and Air makes it two transactions which is great (I have an interest bearing account where I stash taxes collected until payment day).

It will show up when folks are looking at pricing, and they have to pay it at booking, so you won’t have to deal with it.

It may be that you didn’t want to deal with rules, or the constant prompts to fuss with your listing(s), but the tools are really necessary to properly manage your listing and make sure Air doesn’t change things without you knowing.

Adding a tax is easy, if it’s $x/night +% you just add 2 taxes (BlaBla County Nightly Bed Tax and BlaBlaCounty 12% Bed Tax). Once you do it, you’ll love it.

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I send you expletives, all followed by “…rat!”

To actually spend the time to look up and send YOU info on the tax code?! Then accuse you of pocketing the taxes? Another heir-to-the-throne (and perhaps projecting his own tax-cheat practices?)

And the nastiness AFTER agreeing to your terms :exploding_head:

Please tell us how the review goes- with luck he may continue his “silent scorn” :wink::rofl:


Agree with this 100%. You mentioned keeping your place full. If that’s the case, taking something off your agenda will be a welcome reduction in workload. But I can appreciate how much it SUCKS losing a little cash in the process!

Regarding your interaction with the guy? I think you allowed it to get to the “argument zone” and there may have been ways you could have kept it lighter and avoided going there. And when it comes to reviews, I’ll sacrifice almost anything to hold the line on keeping them 100% 5-stars all the time. Even money. And in this case, $83 just doesn’t feel worth it to me.

The guy is absolutely a BAD PERSON for treating you like this. And he will eventually learn that in his life. But you don’t have the time/energy to teach it to him. And you need to protect your reputation and sometimes that involves sacrificing a little cash. Since he stayed at your home already and he can leave you that crummy review if he wants, he’s in control. Crappy, but true.

Has the review exchange happened yet? Interested to see where that lands.

The problem in Summerland with adding it to the room fee is that many hosts collect it at home and when guests are looking for a place, mine would look less competitive. We all know that guests rarely read the “fine print.” I think best for me is to download the professional hosting tools and let Airbnb collect it although I will still have to send it in each month. This particular guest was the first I have had an issue with in all these years, but it was unpleasant enough to not want to repeat it.

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I appreciate your input. Having owned restaurants and bakeries for thirty years, I am pretty good at avoiding escalation with patrons. I said very little and let him rant and rave. I never raised my voice. Not really sure what you would have had me do differently but I felt fine about my part in the conversation.

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I know how you feel. People are getting worse as time goes on. We have been blamed for things we have no control of and do not even pertain to our place. For example. A guest was attending an outdoor wedding in May and gave us a bad review because she was allergic to pollen and her face became swollen. I really think we all should urge Airbnb to make reviewing an option and choice that can be clicked on or off. This is really needed

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That would be amazing but I don’t see that happening. It would really take the stress out of this and it wouldn’t change how much attention I give it to my home and how accommodating I am to the guests.

There is no way that is ever going to happen. You think the review system is set up like it is by accident?

Airbnb wants hosts to be terrified of a bad review, terrified of losing Superhost status, so they let guests get away with all sorts of egregious behavior. And look, it works.


My mistake on this post! Had the users mixed up.

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