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Massachusetts Short Term Rental Tax

So, the new short term rental tax is now in effect but I remain confused.

Is airbnb collecting taxes from each my visitors now, and submitting the 5.7% to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue each month?
If I pretend to be a prospective renter of my property, I see that Massachusetts taxes are worked into the bill for the visitor.

But it is also clear that each host in Massachusetts was told that they must establish an account with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (masstaxconnect), which I did. This account was for me to submit the occupancy tax that I owe each month.

Is airbnb is handling the tax, or is the host dealing with it?
Does anyone out there have clarity on this?
Any help on this question would be appreciated.

Thank you!

It sounds as though they’re going to be collecting and remitting the state taxes required. Each town can add whatever percentage that they want and you would be required to collect and remit that. You should check with your town and see if and what they are asking for. I’m just one state over so I’m sure it will be coming to us as well with the local tax bit. Sounds like there’s a whole lot of confusion from hosts and the cities and state as a whole

So I have been in direct contact with Dept. of Revenue in MA. DOR said that I needed to give my registration number to Airbnb.

When I reached out to Airbnb CS I received this reply:

I would like to inform you that for Massachusetts we are already remitting the occupancy tax directly to the local authorities. Airbnb in this situation doesn’t require the registration document.

So I then wrote to my contact at DOR:

Perhaps you can reach out to your contact at Airbnb to let them know that their customer service is providing inaccurate information.

And DOR’s reply:
Yes I have your email printed out and in my Airbnb file to discuss with them.

I explained to DOR that there is just no way to reach a decision maker at Airbnb to resolve this and that they are going to have to use their leverage to make it work.

Thank you, Lynick4442.
That is very helpful information.

The idea that airbnb is already submitting the 5.7% tax on behalf of each of my rentals is very interesting. But hard to believe that this is really working so smoothly!

I guess I will start the same dialog as you with air and Mass DOR to see what I come up with. I started one of those masstaxconnect accounts, as advised. But I don’t know exactly how it fits in at this point.

You as host are NOT responsible for taxes on any Airbnb rental, THEY are.

In email from Jennifer DeSimone (MA DOR), she wrote: “The intermediary ultimately are the ones responsible for the taxes collected and reported, not the hosts. I will let our legal folks know about this and see about reaching out to Airbnb but again. This is probably going to take some time for everyone to settle in.”

In response to my final point on email to her regarding incorrect tax handling, where I wrote:
“Hopefully this type of thing won’t affect us because if they are supposed to charge tax and don’t, us as hosts don’t want to be held responsible for their mistakes!”

However, we as hosts are STILL required to register as operators with DOR on MassTaxCollect for OTHER purposes, such as tracking of hosts, etc. even if we don’t have any taxes to submit, ok? We would, as I understand it, report zeros for amounts as WE were NOT the ones who collected the rent from guest because Airbnb did that.

It is my understanding that by November, Airbnb must collect a MassTaxCollect registration # from every host in Massachusetts. If a host has not registered with MassTaxCollect by November, Airbnb is suppose to kick their listing off of the site.

@carolynfuller
That’s something I’ve not heard/read before but it certainly makes sense that they should do so and I’m surprised it’s taking them THAT long! I would have thought by Aug 1 given that we were required to register on July 1.

Here is what I found:
Owners of short-term rentals, called “operators” under the Massachusetts short-term rental law, need to register their property. The operator will receive a certificate number they will need to provide to every intermediary who is collecting rent on their behalf, so that intermediary can remit the taxes.

Operators do have a grace period during the transition. Operators have until November 1st, if an operator has not received a certificate number and an intermediary has to file taxes, the intermediary can use the operator’s Social Security Number or their Federal Tax ID number up until November 1st. As of November 1, all returns must include the certificate number.

1 Like

@carolynfuller
Thanks! I’d not looked at their site for quite some time.
I also found this other page that is helpful in describing exactly what intermediaries MUST do and not do: https://cciaor.com/news/dor-issues-expanded-guidance-on-intermediary-responsibilities-on-short-term-rentals

Interesting, They are really holding Airbnb & VRBO responsible in ways I hadn’t originally thought they would. What use to be grey areas that I thought owners were going to be held responsible for is clearly Airbnb’s and VRBO’s responsibility. I have a friend who thought she’d be on the hook for over $1000. She will be glad to know that she is not…

@carolynfuller
Reading the actual law like i did months ago, it was quite clear that ABB/VRBO/HA/etc would be the ones responsible for any rentals done via them, partially because we as hosts may never see/know the booking fees that guest pays that are taxable.
Unfortunately, it seems Airbnb CSR’s have been giving out really bad info for a while also. And folks may have done things wrong based on those errors.
Also, because some parts of this tax are HIGHLY dependent on individual host situation, which ABB probably may not know details of, it would require more options on site to indicate what exemptions or taxes apply.

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