Taxes Taxes and Racial Hosting

So I contact Airbnb several months ago because i got an irate call from Navajo Nation Tax Commission who indicated I needed to remit Hotel Occupancy Tax. Which we said we were fine doing. We had contacted them at the start and no one ever returned our call. But the lady starts threatening me with audits and other threats tho I assured her I was fine remitting HOT. I want to be a law abiding host. Not sure why voluntary compliance would initiate threats but I figured she probably is dealing with someone in her head that isn’t me.

We remit taxes and we told them for our area to really ensure host compliance to go through Airbnb and have it administered at point of sale. Because the type of taxes that are being required is 13% in addition to state and also for us hosts federal. Which would be about 50% of the listing. I told air it was not fair when they said they wouldn’t collect HOT for the tribe at the point of sale they would have to be asked to do so.

Well the state of Utah comes in and expects its Tax to be remitted. We are on the border of Utah and Arizona. I understand that 99% of air listings do not fall within a border tax issue.

I have to contact air now because they are automatically remitting Utah State Tax on listings that are physically in Arizona. When I first registered on Airbnb, when I registered for Monument Valley, AZ the pointer placed my location in Kayenta, 24 miles away. Where the zip code is from but extends to the Stateline. Software says I cannot list a rural address with this zip code and move my pointer to the legal spot and how location of our listing on the border of Utah and Arizona. literally. I don’t fault Airbnb for not knowing how to handle border issues and their software but thought they might benefit from knowing.

This is not helped by the fact that Navajo Nation has no street USPS delivery despite the fact we pay for our POBs. Meaning we have no 911 or other address identical to hotels in our area. Which has been a thread in our listing.

So I told Airbnb in no uncertain terms that come Tax time this mistake will be addressed by the state of Arizona who will want their taxes that air has voluntarily remitted to Utah without consultation.

Yes I now get a notification that air is remitting AZ State Tax.

Joy. Right. Well except they are still collecting Utah state tax for our listings.

If you google monument valley AZ most people don’t. But if you did would you find our listing as accurate if we listed under 86033 and was forced to point to a physical location 25 miles away and restricted by air software from placing at the accurate location. That we are allowed to use 84536 we thought would resolve the issue until air could get back to it

Well I am three months without an answer. Further I was asked by Airbnb staff to provide documentation that would show them our Arizona listings should not be paying Utah tax.

Which goes back to the Sovereign Navajo Nation. Who they rejected collecting taxes on behalf of. Maybe not answering their calls was a factor by air, maybe the tax commission targeting hosts in our area and not going for a point of sale tax with air. Not sure. But air is volunteering to collect Utah or Arizona Tax and asking me for documentation on who pays what Tax to what state I stead of the agency who has physical legal mandate to do so. THe Navajo Tribe who’s calls they didn’t answer.

So our guests are being charged for state tax and the wrong state after air was notified. It’s been more than 3 months and they are collecting taxes for anyone but the Navajo Tribe who should be remitted to first and foremost.

I feel as if I’m trapped in a huge bureaucracy that will stun me like a poisoned fish. Even through they have the capacity to resolve this.

I feel that as a host I’m an outsider trying to tell Airbnb our problem and getting form answers. I told them we should put a questionnaire in the forums. Should Airbnb collect for the states before and without tribal consultation with the NAvajo tribe for tax collection and remittance for 17 listing in our area and what happens to us as hosts when they all come calling for their taxes but air has not resolved.

So I love Airbnb. I love our guests. I love my tribe but I feel that they should be remitted Tax first before the state and all are legal. I feel that we as tribal hosts will be penalized. And for criticizing air on a racial tax issue could get my listing deleted.

I’m just stressed out. It’s been three months and my Arizona guests are paying Utah tax and there’s nothing I can do.

What happens when taxes are being remitted except for the Sovereign tax and they come to me when air should be collecting and send the Navajo SWAT to my listing and who’s gonna defend me against payments made to Utah?

@mholidayoj. Since no one has responded, I will give my gut response. It might or might not be valid. I don’t honestly think that you alone can do much about this problem (and it is a problem!) Somehow you need to jolt Legal at AirBNB. The customer service first level of folks are simply not capable enough for this question. Does the tribe have legal council? That is how I would proceed. In fact, it is the Tribe that is loosing out on revenue so this seems like a very good of their legal team’s time. AirBNB will NOT want to have to be sued by a Native American Nation. I suspect a few well written letters on legal letterhead would get AirBNB’s attention. If after four notifications, nothing is done, head to the press. Right now, the press kind of enjoys poking holes into AirBNB’s story and this would be a story worth telling.

Good luck with this. Dealing with a blind bureaucracy is one of the life’s greatest tortures.

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Here is my dear friend Verna who also hosts in our area. She’s smack in the Navajo Tribal park with a gorgeous listing and is located 25 miles away in Kayenta because of airs software. It doesn’t compensate for remote areas. I’m sure it’s tuned for urban street distances the software. But for us it doesn’t allow us to actually place our location so that we can be assessed appropriately. So clearly Verna is reacting to the AZ UT tax issue with the listing. Just like we did but made the alternate choice. But here you can see another host down the road from us in the same situation between Utah and Arizona. Anyone who’s anyone searches Monument Valley UT but most of the listings are actually in Arizona.

Thanks for those suggestions. I might just add a physical letter with letterhead to both NNHOT and Airbnb Legal.

Because what’s gonna happen is a controversy over the uncollected taxes during the period where Airbnb is remitting taxes to wrong state minus tribe. Why would we the hosts be responsible for this when clearly air was notified way before the state tax issue by us the Navajo hosts.

Hi - just signed up for the forum and saw your post! we are on navajo nation also and have had the same problem! Not with Utah/Arizona but with Arizona/Navajo Nation. We are being told that occupancy tax is being taken out for us but no one can tell us who it is being paid to. I keep saying to pay them to the Navajo Nation but no way to know if it actually is. We were contacted last year by NN for airbnb occupancy taxes and we paid them, now we are nearing time to pay again, but I think they have already been paid - but no one knows. I feel your pain!

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this is a great idea - to keep a cheap phone for guests! we have tons of international guests - and their phones don’t work if they need something or I want to check on them.

Good Shepard do you use whatsapp? It’s a great way to connect with international guests. Free and also provides excellent location sharing. And also the Navajo hosts should form a host association and somehow meet with the tribe to figure out why Airbnb is not administering the HOT at the point of sale. And also to deal with the problem of the interstate tax issue when we have no physical addresses.

Good Morning Ms. Yazzie,

Well we went in pretty deeply into this with Airbnb. Because Airbnb can administer and pay NHOT directly. However, the Navajo Tax Commission would rather chase down hosts, to force us to accurately estimate NNHOT into each transaction, which is also tagged as our personal income tax.

They expect us to to receive the invoice from the guest, all the add ins or fees changes to total, and then add NNHOT.

However, all Navajo Tax Commission would have to do, is contact Airbnb and submit their documentation, and airbnb would automatically tabulate the totals, accurately, and for each transaction, as many of the rates are not consistent, even for each listing, like for discounts, refunds, etc.

So this has been achieved for State of Arizona, the State of Utah, contacted airbnb, and they are receiving their taxes directly at point of sale. Considering that Navajo hosts, only have so many resources, while raising a family, caring for their livestock, being present at our chapters and our ceremonial commitments. Considering that this is provided to the View Hotel and Gouldings these types of efficiencies and breaks, it doesn’t make sense that our Sovereign Tribe, can spend their time harassing individual hosts, rather than going to Airbnb and getting an accurate paycheck for every hosts sale.

Yes, so I say that because you may find the same in your experience and its the strongest issue. Tax Commission has time and resources to contact Airbnb and do the paperwork.

We are small businesses on the Navajo reservation using this forum with tourism to promote Navajo Culture, education, extending our individual sovereignty and preserving our traditions. I am so glad you joined the hosts, and are interested in collaborating together, because then our experiences together will be heard and honored.