GALVESTON

Galveston officials estimate signing an agreement with large vacation rental listing services could hand the island $2.4 million in hotel occupancy tax revenue it’s not collecting now.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

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(4) comments

Bailey Jones

The contract should simply require STR owners to submit their city registration number as part of their listing information. And Airbnb can supply the city with a breakdown of taxes by registration number. This seems straightforward to me. VRBO is already requiring registration numbers.

Ana Ortiz-Monasterio Draa

Bailey, we already do this. There’s still a degree of an honor system on the owners to submit all taxes, unless you audit every owner, every year. As evidenced by the increased collections by the state on a lower tax rate...this system is not working. The city is leaving money on the table.

Ana Ortiz-Monasterio Draa

As a long term STR owner on the island, I fully support Council entering into these agreements. When the state entered similar agreements, their collections went up significantly. They now collect more money on a 6% tax than the city collects on a 9% tax on the same homes! By this agreement, HOT taxes would never pass through owners, instead be paid directly to the city, very efficient. No need to audit STR owners as there would be no way to cheat. If the city wanted to audit AirBnb or VRBO, they could randomly pick owners, or even ask for volunteers, audit their records against what’s submitted by the rental platform. I urge council to pass this measure as it would level the playing field, ensure that all STR’s are paying HOT taxes.

Bailey Jones

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