The Tompkins County Department of Finance has come to an agreement with the online short-term home rental company Airbnb concerning the collection of local hotel room occupancy tax. Beginning July 1, 2016 anyone booking rooms in Tompkins County through Airbnb will automatically be charged the local 3% room tax. Airbnb will remit these collections to the county each quarter on behalf of local hosts. Tompkins is the first County in New York State to reach such an agreement with the company.
“The county welcomes this collaboration with Airbnb that will ensure 100 percent participation in the room tax program from all Airbnb clients and greatly benefit tourism in Tompkins County. The Tompkins County Finance Department recently sent notices to Room Tax Registrants informing them of this upcoming change in reporting room tax to the county", says Helen Beach in the Tompkins County Department of Finance.
Principal Planner / Tourism Program Director Tom Knipe: “It’s a straightforward administrative issue for us. The voluntary collection agreement with AirBnB simplifies the room tax collection process for our Department of Finance and provides a service to Airbnb hosts in Tompkins County by automating collection and payment of the required hotel room occupancy tax. It also ensures 100 percent compliance with the room tax law by Airbnb hosts.”
With this new agreement, all local Airbnb hosts and guests will be contributing to the programs that attract and serve nearly one million visitors to Tompkins County every year. The Tompkins County Tourism Program, with oversight and strategic direction provided by the County’s Strategic Tourism Planning Board, annually invests more than two million dollars of local hotel room occupancy tax revenues in community-based tourism initiatives that promote economic development through tourism while also and enhancing local quality of life. Local room tax investments have supported the activities of dozens of local organizations contributing to local tourism and community vitality. As an industry, in 2014 tourism in Tompkins County supported 3,500 local jobs and generated $190 million in local economic activity and more than $14 million in local tax revenues.