The county is exploring the potential to collect tax revenue from home-rental companies like Airbnb and has requested tax returns for the past three years.
County Clerk-Auditor-Recorder Joe Paul Gonzalez gave an update to supervisors at Tuesday’s board meeting and said his office had started the process of attempting to collect tax revenue from Airbnb and other home-rental companies such as Home Away.
“We are requesting that since they are acting as a hotel, that they comply with the county’s ordinance,” Gonzalez said.
That would amount to an 8 percent transient occupancy tax for 2016-2018 and 12 percent for 2019, since the TOT increased after this past election.
Gonzalez said the county sent letters to Airbnb and Home Away in recent weeks, while he mentioned pursuing tax revenue from other companies offering similar services such as Expedia.
“We’ll see where this takes us,” Gonzalez said during the department head announcements portion of Tuesday’s meeting.
Supervisor Jim Gillio, who requested the county look into prospects for taxing such entities, asked how much leverage the county might have when dealing with the companies.
“Just in case these folks don’t think we’re big enough or important enough to respond to, do we have any leverage?” he said.
Gonzalez said it’s been described to him as being like a fishing expedition, “to see what we can catch.”
The issue is nothing new for Airbnb and other home-rental companies, as they are battling with local jurisdictions throughout the country on whether they must pay such taxes. Some municipalities have worked out special tax agreements with the company to collect such revenue.