Airbnb, city of Boulder work out deal for short-term rental tax payments

BOULDER – Online vacation-rental platform Airbnb has worked out a deal with the city of Boulder through which the company will collect a 7.5 percent short-term rental tax on behalf of its hosts and remit the tax collected to the city.

The deal is similar to arrangements that Airbnb has with some 200 other municipalities around the world that are aimed at streamlining the rental process for property owners.

The agreement between Boulder and Airbnb is logistical in nature and includes no financial arrangement between the two.

“It’s an efficiency issue from the city’s perspective,” city of Boulder spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said Wednesday. “We think it’s great that Airbnb has agreed to be the conduit for these taxes being paid.”

Boulder voters last year approved the 7.5 percent tax on short-term vacation rentals. Prior to that, short-term vacation rentals were technically illegal within the city limits. The ordinance creating the tax allows Boulder homeowners to apply for a short-term rental license to rent out their principal residence for less than 30 days at a time. Renters and second homeowners are still prohibited from renting out properties as short-term rentals.

The licensing requirement and tax went into effect earlier this year, and the city has so far issued 370 short-term rental licenses. Up to this point, owners of short-term rentals have been responsible for collecting the tax and remitting it to the city themselves. Airbnb’s deal, which goes into effect Jan. 1, takes care of that process for its hosts listing properties on the popular website.

Huntley said no other vacation rental platforms, such as VRBO, have any sort of similar arrangements with the city of Boulder, meaning short-term rental license holders listing their properties on other sites still are responsible for collecting and paying the taxes to the city themselves.

“Our Boulder community wants to pay their fair share and Airbnb wants to help by collecting and remitting those taxes like we do in 200 other cities around the world,” Airbnb spokeswoman Laura Rillos said in an emailed statement. “From paying taxes to boosting local tourism in little-known places, our hosts and guests are committed to being good neighbors and strengthening their communities.”