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Occupancy tax to be collected on Airbnb rentals in Fulton and Cayuga counties

Occupancy tax to be collected on Airbnb rentals in Fulton and Cayuga counties

A 4 percent occupancy tax will be collected starting May 1
Occupancy tax to be collected on Airbnb rentals in Fulton and Cayuga counties
Photographer: Shutterstock

FULTON COUNTY — Beginning on May 1, those who operate an Airbnb in Fulton and Cayuga counties will have to pay a 4 percent occupancy tax on their short-term rentals. 

Though Fulton County enacted an occupancy tax for all rentals less than 30 days in July, Treasurer Edgar Blodgett said the county has not collected tax on Airbnb rentals. 

He added that the county has generated $132,534 in occupancy tax since July. 

"The tax is used for economic development and tourism," Blodgett said. "It helps with expenses that are incurred through all tourism promotions."

There are nearly 100 Airbnb rentals listed in Fulton County. 

In 2017, according to Airbnb, 70 hosts welcomed 4,500 guests in Fulton County, and the average host generated $6,300 in income. 

In Cayuga County, 70 Airbnb hosts generated an average of $7,800 in income in 2017 with 3,000 guests. 

The agreement with Fulton and Cayuga counties marks 20 counties Airbnb is working with across the state. 

Other counties are Cattaraugus, Cortland, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schuyler, Schoharie, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Sullivan, Tompkins and Wyoming.

Saratoga County could soon be added to the list.

Earlier this month, city of Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan said the department is putting together a resolution to send to the county, with the intent of implementing an occupancy tax on short-term rental properties. 

The city is also in the midst of drafting a proposal that would require short-term rental properties to register with the city.  

Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety John Daley said the department would likely be seeking the approval of City Council in May to award a bid to a third-party company that would oversee short-term rental properties in the city. 

Through its existing agreements in New York state, Airbnb has remitted more than $1.4 million in occupancy taxes since its initial agreement with Tompkins County in July 2016. 

In 2017, Airbnb remitted more than $1 million in occupancy tax revenue. 

Airbnb supports the state Assembly Bill A7520, which was first introduced last April and has not been signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It aims to enable any city with a population greater than 1 million to impose and collect occupancy tax on short-term rental units. 

The purpose of the bill is "to legalize responsible home sharing in New York, while enabling regulators to target enforcement of those who turn permanent housing into illegal hotels." 

Josh Meltzer, head of New York Public Policy for Airbnb, said in a prepared statement: “Now 20 counties will be able to use this new revenue stream from home sharing to continue providing critical services to tens of thousands of New Yorkers. 

"This is only further proof of the exponential opportunity inherent to home sharing, not only for hosts and small businesses, but also for our communities overall. It also serves as a clear example to the state of the economic potential on the table in supporting common-sense home sharing regulations.” 

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