Changes to the way Collections and Payments of Some Hotel Occupancy Taxes Effective January 1st
Cara Rose of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau explains that changes to the way the Hotel Occupancy Tax will be collected and remitted to the county will take place starting on January 1, 2022.
Cara, would you please explain to our listeners the new way the Hotel Occupancy Tax will be collected starting in January?
“Yes, I would Tim,” replied Rose. “I would like to inform the listeners about a little bit about some changes that are going to happen with third-party facilitators like AirBNB, VRBO, Travelocity, etc. As everyone is aware, Pocahontas County implemented the Hotel-Motel Tax in 1987 and has been collecting that lodging tax since then.”
“In Pocahontas County, we have a fairly significant number of property owners who are now on these third-party platforms. In 2018, Pocahontas County collected 17% of the states AirBNB revenues, which is pretty significant considering that we have 55 counties in the state. We have a large percentage of people who have secondary homes in our county, so that probably directly relates to why we have a large number of people who participate on these platforms.”
“Currently the way individuals and property owners handle the lodging tax in our county is by collecting their revenues from AirBNB and then paying that 6% lodging tax directly to our Sheriff’s Office. In March of 2021, the State of West Virginia enacted a law that will require these third-party facilitators to begin charging the Hotel-Motel Tax on their website platforms, so that it is transparent to the guests when they check out. So, if you’ve ever been on one of these platforms, it will give you a detailed breakdown of what the fees are: the room night; a cleaning fee; West Virginia sales tax at 6%; and now, as of January 1st, 2022, they will also have a line item on there for lodging tax, if it applies within certain counties – not all counties or municipalities in West Virginia charge a Hotel-Motel Tax. Almost all of them do, but there are a few that do not. So, when a guest books on VRBO or AirBNB, as of January first, they will see that breakdown.”
“Air BNB will be charging, collecting and remitting that lodging tax to the local authorities as well on behalf of the hosts. So, I think it is really important that individuals who have property in the county and are on these platforms, understand that there is going to be a transition and that instead of them paying directly to the county, that these platforms are going to begin paying their tax directly on behalf of them. It is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that those taxes are being paid, so I would recommend that anybody who is currently hosting on AirBNB, VRBO, or other third-party facilitator sites, pay close attention to their statements that they get regularly from those platforms and that they ensure that the platform is paying the correct tax authority as well, and on a timely basis. In Pocahontas County, we require that those payments be made monthly, by the 15th. The third-party facilitator should be aware of that.”
“If anybody has any questions, they can call the Tax Office or the Assessor’s Office. And, I can answer some generic questions, but the Sheriff’s Office and the Assessor’s Office are going to be the authorities on answering questions.”
“But there will be a transition, folks should be aware of that, and just pay attention to your statements.”
As Cara said, there will be some confusion in the beginning. For example, for bookings made in December for stays that won’t happen until after January first, the host may still have to remit the payment themselves.
The Pocahontas County Convention and Business Bureau is a business supporter of Allegheny Mountain Radio.