Airbnb Remits $2.5 Million in Taxes to Wisconsin

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

Airbnb Inc. delivered a check to Wisconsin that is more than three times larger than the home-sharing platform estimated last year when it struck an agreement with the Department of Revenue to collect and remit taxes.

More than $2.5 million in taxes were remitted during the first year of its agreement with Wisconsin, the company said Aug. 6. That number compares with the $700,000 initially estimated when the agreement was launched July 1, 2017.

Airbnb agreed to collect Wisconsin’s 5 percent sales tax on all transactions and a short list of local taxes that are also administered by the revenue department. Those local taxes include some city and county sales and use taxes, the Baseball Stadium District Tax for several jurisdictions in and around Milwaukee, local exposition taxes, and “premier resort area taxes” applicable in some municipalities.

Airbnb attributed the revenue bonanza to “continued growth among the local Airbnb community in Wisconsin.”

Over the last year, more than 260,000 visitors sought accommodations in Wisconsin using Airbnb, a 78 percent surge from the previous year. The company said nearly 5,000 Wisconsin residents have rented their homes through its platform.

Gov. Scott Walker (R) significantly expanded Airbnb’s tax collection duties last September under the state’s 2017-19 biennial budget.

The budget included a last-minute provision requiring home-sharing sites to collect hundreds of local lodging and occupancy taxes in addition to the previously negotiated list of state and local taxes. The budget also granted municipalities authority to bar home-sharing stays of less than seven days. At the time, Airbnb and the Travel Technology Association faulted Walker and the state Legislature for quietly enacting the tax collection provisions without soliciting input from the home-sharing community.

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

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

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