View of Avila Beach from pier
View of Avila Beach from pier.

County Reaches Agreement with Airbnb to Collect Taxes

Author: Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector-Public Administrator
Date: 8/18/2017 12:28 PM

The County has reached an agreement with popular online lodging rental platform Airbnb to collect Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT) and related assessments in the unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo County.

Under the agreement , Airbnb will collect TOT and any other required assessments on behalf of vacation rental hosts and other lodging operators, and transmit the funds to the County.

County Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector (ACTTC) Jim Erb says that this will help level the playing field for local vacation rental businesses.

“This agreement will help ensure that everyone is playing by the same rules and paying the same taxes because lodging operators renting rooms and properties through Airbnb will be paying the same taxes that other operators are required to pay,” Erb said. “Secondly, it will make it easier for those operators to remit the taxes because Airbnb will build the tax into the total price paid for each rental, and transmit the funds on their behalf, along with the required reporting, directly to the County.”

TOT is similar to sales tax except it’s collected by lodging business operators from their guests to help fund important County services, such as law enforcement and road maintenance. Additionally, enforcement of County Business License and TOT requirements helps to ensure a "level playing field" for all operators.

In the unincorporated areas of the county (outside of the seven incorporated cities), vacation rental hosts are required to collect a 9% TOT from their guests and a 1% Tourism Marketing District (TMD) assessment. In some parts of San Luis Obispo County, hosts are also required to collect a 2% County Business Improvement District (CBID) assessment.

Under the agreement, any host who uses Airbnb to book reservations will have these taxes and assessments collected and remitted automatically. Vacation rental hosts should continue to report and remit taxes and assessments separately for any rental activity not through Airbnb. Lodging operators within incorporated city limits are subject to the rules and collection practices in each city, and are not affected by this agreement.

In addition to the agreement with Airbnb, the County has been working to identify unlicensed vacation rentals and bring them into compliance.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about how to report rental income through Airbnb is available on the Tax Collector's Transient Occupancy Tax information page.

For more information about the agreement, contact the Tax Collector division at [email protected] or at (805) 781-5831.