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Oceanside forms tax agreement with Airbnb

OCEANSIDE — The city has formed a tax agreement with Airbnb that will allow the online hospitality service to remove the burden of collecting city taxes from its hosts.

On May 1, when the tax agreement went into effect, Airbnb began collecting and remitting the 10% transient occupancy tax (TOT) and 1.5% Tourism Marketing District Assessment on behalf of its hosts and guests on all bookings.

According to the company, guests will be charged taxes on their reservations and the company will remit those collected taxes to the city.

Oceanside joins more than 400 jurisdictions globally where Airbnb has collected and remitted more than $1.2 billion in hotel and tourist taxes worldwide since 2014, according to a news release.

“We have similar agreements with beach communities throughout California that result in the collection of millions of dollars for city budgets,” said Airbnb spokeswoman Lisa Cohen in an email.

Cohen noted Airbnb has collected more than $100 million in taxes in Los Angeles since 2016.

Without this tax agreement between Oceanside and Airbnb, it would be left up to the hosts to collect and remit the taxes.

Dealing with taxes can be quite cumbersome, especially for the everyday person who just wants to rent out a spare room on occasion to make some extra income.

Molly Weedn, a spokeswoman for Airbnb, noted many tourism and hospitality taxes in municipalities like Oceanside were originally created for big hotels and not for smaller business ventures like hosting through Airbnb.

“It can be incredibly complex to navigate local tax laws,” Weedn said. “This helps to ensure hosts are paying their fair share and helps to streamline the process so they can focus more on hosting and making sure their guests experience what they want.”

In a statement, City Manager Michelle Skaggs Lawrence pointed out the role tourism revenue has in the city’s funds.

“Tourism revenue plays an important part in the city budget, and this process will ensure that the appropriate taxes from that industry are collected in a timely and efficient fashion,” Skaggs Lawrence stated.

According to the city manager, the extra revenue will go toward Oceanside’s general fund, which pays for police, fire, parks and libraries.

According to Airbnb, the company makes it possible for Oceanside residents who host through the service to pay their bills, stay in their homes and save for retirement.

Cohen said Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath’s (D-Encinitas) proposed Assembly Bill 1731, which would limit how often vacation rental hosts could rent out their homes, “would eliminate the additional income Airbnb hosts earn through home sharing.”

“In addition, it would negatively impact the city of Oceanside by eliminating tax revenues that Airbnb is agreeing to collect on behalf of hosts and guests,” Cohen told The Coast News.