Airbnb Hotel Tax Bill Died in City Council Committee on Tuesday

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Courtesy Airbnb.com
Courtesy Airbnb.com

Baltimore City Council members have declined to consider a bill that would have levied a 9.5 percent tax on the more than 300 Airbnb rentals in the city.

ABC2 reports Airbnb owners were delighted. Advocates for the hotel tax, meanwhile, were likely disappointed. The legislation would have subjected Airbnb’s online rentals to the same tax rate the city has in place for hotels.

On Tuesday, Councilman James Kraft of District 1 said the bill would not move forward from the Judiciary and Legislative Investigation committee beyond the current council term, which ends in December. Only three of the committee’s five members were present.

Airbnb hosts there applauded the bill’s death. Some have voiced support for a more modest tax on the short-term rental service that would still contribute some tax revenue to the city.

Visit Baltimore, a tourism center for the city, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake were among the bill’s proponents, according to WBAL-TV. The mayor previously suggested that off-market Airbnb properties should also face other rules and inspections not required for hotels.

A spokesperson for Visit Baltimore has not responded to a request for comment.

Twenty-four states plus D.C. currently require Airbnb users to pay additional tax for rentals across the state or in specific counties, according to the service’s website. But in Maryland, only Montgomery County subjects renters to an additional 7-percent excise.

Airbnb owners can hold onto more of their rental revenues for now. Those who want the hotel tax for the service will need to wait for the bill to be proposed again when the council reconvenes next spring.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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