San Jose may become third US city to impose Airbnb taxes

Byby Tiffany Wilson KGO logo
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
San Jose may become third US city to impose Airbnb taxes
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San Jose city council members are discussing a proposal that would add a 10-percent tax to Airbnb guests.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose could become the third city to impose taxes on Airbnb.

During Tuesday night's meeting, the city council is expected to vote on a proposal that would add a 10-percent tax to a guest's visit.

San Jose officials said they didn't have much of a template to work from, but they believe they got the proposal right.

Rebecca Morgan started turning extra bedrooms into extra cash last fall. Since then, she's hosted 60 guests, some of which she now considers friends. "They hug me when they leave and you don't see that in hotels. They don't hug people all the time when they leave," she said.

Soon, those who search and select her Airbnb site may find themselves paying 10 percent more.

San Jose council members will discuss a proposal to tax Airbnb guests. "Well we all want a reasonably level playing field for anyone who is in the business of providing a hotel room, whether that's in their residence or in a large hotel and I think it's reasonable for us to make sure everybody is playing with the same rules," incoming San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo said.

Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen believes the proposal will pass, making San Jose only the third city in the country to tax Airbnb stays like hotel visits. "This proposal didn't just come out of nowhere, it's been in the works for a very long time. We're at a point now where we're confident we can move forward with it," he said.

The money collected would go into San Jose's general fund and the city anticipates generating a million dollars in just the first year. "Those are general fund dollars. That's the money we pay for police officers, our fire fighters, parks, libraries and we pave our streets with it, so there's many, many uses for those dollars," San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said.

Morgan supports the tax, but she does have one concern. Guests may opt to stay in neighboring communities like Santa Clara where they don't have to pay the extra 10 percent. "We hope all the cities, adjacent cities adopt the same rule, so we're all on the same level playing field," she said.

Airbnb has already begun collecting taxes on behalf of guests and hosts in Portland and San Francisco.