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Airbnb Agreement With Texas Means Hosts Won’t Get Around Paying Tax

The web-based home-sharing company will start collecting hotel occupancy taxes in Texas.

Randy Tussing, an Airbnb host, looks at his phone while standing in his home, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Starting May 1, people who host paying guests through Airbnb in Texas won’t get around paying the 6 percent state hotel occupancy tax.

Laura Spanjian, public policy director at Airbnb’s southwest region, said many hosts didn’t know they had to pay those taxes or couldn’t figure out how to.

“So we decided, could we actually take on the responsibility of the host and have Airbnb collect and remit the tax?” she said. “So we realized, legally, we could do that if we had agreements with cities and states that in essence transferred responsibility from a host to us.”

Texas is not the only place where the company is doing this.

By next month, Airbnb will have similar agreements with 250 jurisdictions in the United States, including 20 states.

David Stacy has hosted guests through Airbnb for the past two years in his garage apartment north of downtown Houston.

He said he has never paid hotel occupancy taxes before, but he’s not concerned that the additional charge will deter potential guests.

“I’ve looked at lots of websites for Airbnb in cities that I enjoy traveling to, and I see Airbnb there for a lot less than I would have to pay for a hotel,” he said. “So to me, I think it’s still a good bargain.”

Stacy said he wants to abide by the law and is glad Airbnb is stepping in.

The city of Houston, by the way, does not yet have an agreement with the company and will still be missing out on a lot of revenue from the local hotel occupancy tax, which is 7 percent.

Spanjian said she is in talks with Houston as well.

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Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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