Published in Breaking News

Kent County to collect taxes from Airbnb bookings

BY Wednesday, July 18, 2018 01:53pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Under a new agreement with Airbnb Inc., visitors to Kent County who use the vacation rental webite will pay the municipality’s 5 percent lodging excise tax.

The agreement, which takes effect on Aug. 1, is the third such arrangement that the San Francisco-based Airbnb has made in Michigan, according to a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company will automatically collect the tax from the Airbnb booking and then remit the funds directly to the county.

“We appreciate the cooperation of Airbnb in helping us achieve this agreement,” Kent County Treasurer Ken Parrish said in a statement. “The Voluntary Collection Agreement allows Airbnb hosts to operate without having to try to calculate occupancy taxes. It also simplifies collection and audit processes; we have one solo, corporate taxpayer rather than many individual business operators. This agreement provides transparency and fairness for all of our lodging partners as well.”

It’s unclear how much added revenue the agreement might generate for the county. However, tourism and lodging have been on the rise in Kent County, with increasing rates for hotel rooms and multiple new hotels either planned or under construction, as MiBiz recently reported.

Kent County executives say the new agreement with Airbnb levels the playing field for the region’s hotel and lodging industry as they try to compete in the burgeoning digital landscape.  

“I’m pleased to see this cooperative arrangement come together, thanks to the efforts of Airbnb staff and our teams in the Treasurer’s Office, the Administrator’s Office and Corporate Counsel,” stated Kent County Administrator and Controller Wayman Britt. “Our hotel/lodging industry should be treated fair and equitably. The arrangement with Airbnb helps in covering the expense for increased tourism and promotes economic well-being for our region.”

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