Airbnb to Collect Wisconsin Occupancy Taxes

Daily Tax Report: State provides authoritative coverage of state and local tax developments across the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, tracking legislative and regulatory updates,...

By Michael J. Bologna

Home-sharing platform Airbnb Inc. has reached an agreement with Wisconsin’s Department of Revenue to collect and remit all taxes administered by the state beginning July 1.

Based on service data from Airbnb, the revenue department said the state likely would have collected $700,000 through the agreement if it had been implemented for 2016.

Airbnb reached a similar agreement with Michigan’s Treasury Department last week. In total, the San Francisco-based e-commerce company collects occupancy taxes in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

Ben Breit, a spokesman for Airbnb, said the agreement applies primarily to state sales tax collections. Wisconsin imposes a 5 percent tax against the listing price including any cleaning fee for reservations of 29 nights and shorter.

Local Lodging Taxes

Breit said the agreement doesn’t necessarily apply to lodging taxes administered at the local level. One exception is the city of Madison, which imposes a 9 percent room tax.

“For any cities that have their own occupancy taxes that they manage themselves, we would need to collaborate on tax agreements with them separately,” Breit told Bloomberg BNA June 12. “We have already done so with Madison to collect and remit their transient occupancy tax.”

Breit pointed to several additional exceptions. Airbnb will collect:

  •  occupancy taxes in 60 counties where the tax is also administered by the state; local exposition tax in Milwaukee County only;
  •  room tax in the city of Milwaukee only;
  •  premier resort area tax in Rhinelander, Stockholm, Eagle River, Bayfield, Wisconsin Dells, and Lake Delton only; and
  •  baseball stadium tax in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington, and Waukesha counties only.

Breit said Wisconsin’s host community accommodated 105,000 guests last year, marking a year-over-year growth rate of 164 percent for the state. Additionally, Breit noted Airbnb’s host community grew 73 percent to 2,600 people in 2016.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael J. Bologna in Chicago at mbologna@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan C. Tuck at rtuck@bna.com

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