Nevada County gets $30K in tax dollars from Airbnb, $180K estimated in calendar year | SierraSun.com

Nevada County gets $30K in tax dollars from Airbnb, $180K estimated in calendar year

Nevada County collected about $30,000 in transient occupancy tax from Airbnb in that business' first payment to the local tax collector, officials said.

Tina Vernon, the county's treasurer-tax collector, estimates her office will receive $45,000 every three months, and $180,000 a year from the online, short-term lodging service — money it wasn't previously getting.

The $30,000 reflects payments for May and June, and isn't a full quarter. Vernon won't see a full quarter's results until late October.

"Some quarters could be less than others or more than others, but it's a good, round number to shoot for," said Vernon of the tax revenue.

The tax goes to the general fund, and is earmarked for economic development infrastructure projects. No specific project has been named, said Martin Polt, the county's chief financial officer.

Airbnb began paying Nevada County the occupancy tax after entering an agreement, effective May 1, with the Nevada County Board of Supervisors.

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Before the agreement, Airbnb collected a lodger's payment but without the 10 percent occupancy tax. The host had to collect the tax directly from the lodger and county officials had no method to determine if that tax was paid, because it doesn't know who was a host through Airbnb, Vernon said.

Airbnb now collects the 10 percent tax along with all other costs and remits the tax to Nevada County on a quarterly basis.

"We see this as a much cleaner transaction," Vernon said.

Kathy Dotson, an Airbnb host with a cottage in downtown Nevada City, isn't certain the county's method of collecting its occupancy tax would make her job much easier. She gets the 10 percent directly from the lodger when they arrive and remits it to Nevada City regularly.

"I'm so used to collecting from my guests, it's not that big of a deal," Dotson said.

Some of Dotson's rentals don't come through Airbnb, which if she rented in the unincorporated county would have required her to collect and remit the tax herself regardless.