Windsor

Windsor receives $70K from Airbnb after first 6 months of collecting taxes

Since April 1, the online marketplace for short-term rentals has been charging a four per cent municipal accommodation tax (MAT) to guest bills in the city of Windsor.

Funds will go toward future tourism projects and programs for the City of Windsor

Airbnb has been collecting a municipal accommodation tax in Windsor since April 1, 2019. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The City of Windsor is getting $70,000 from Airbnb after the first six months of taxing renters.

The online marketplace for short-term rentals has been charging a four per cent municipal accommodation tax (MAT) to guest bills in the city, since April 1.

"We think it's a great number," said Alex Dagg, director of public policy for Airbnb in Canada.

"We're excited to be able to contribute those kinds of funds to Windsor to help them with tourism promotion and other things to drive more people coming to see Windsor."

Alex Dagg says the tax is a way for Airbnb to contribute to the communities where it operates. (CBC)

She added that Windsor is one of the "earlier adopters" of the relatively new tax.

Airbnb started collecting the tax from Ottawa renters in August 2018. Taxes are also collected in Sudbury and Mississauga.

The company has more than 400 tax agreements around the world. 

"In times of tough budgets for cities, having some extra income coming in from people coming to stay in your community, I think is great for any community regardless of the size of it — it's really helpful," Dagg said.

Windsor investing in Tourism

As for what Windsor will do with this additional money coming in, the city's communications director Jason Moore said the funds will go into a reserve for "future investments in tourism projects and programs."

In an email statement, Moore said a report on the MAT tax will be presented to city council "in due course."

As for whether or not the company is looking to have the same arrangement with other municipalities in the Windsor-Essex area, Dagg said, not at this time.

Airbnbs in Windsor range in rental price from $13 per night to $1,500 per night. (Airbnb.ca)

She explained that Airbnb takes on the administrative load of tax collection and remittance, so they have "limited capacity" to be able to do the same for smaller communities.

However, she said there are talks about potentially working with multiple small municipalities together in "one shot" to alleviate the administrative challenges of handling taxes individually. 

The total amount raised in taxes for Windsor so far helps the company get a sense of what that will look like going forward, and Dagg said that with the platform continuing to grow, she expects the amount collected in taxes to increase over time as well. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.