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.