People who rent out their Alexandria homes or spare rooms on Airbnb will have to start charging hotel occupancy taxes on April 1, after the city and the home-sharing company reached the first agreement in Virginia to collect taxes.
The agreement, one of more than 300 around the world, including the District and Montgomery County, Md., requires the home-sharing company to collect and remit an 8.5 percent hotel occupancy tax and $1 per night on all bookings in the city. It’s the first agreement between a local government and Airbnb in Virginia.
City officials estimate that the local portion of the taxes could bring in about $100,000 in the coming year. In the District, where home-sharing companies are sometimes accused of accelerating gentrification, Airbnb said it has sent the city nearly $28 million since February 2015. Alexandria is much smaller: 510 residents last year reported 15,900 guests, and made an average $3,700 per year for the 31 nights that the homes were rented, according to Crystal Davis, an Airbnb spokeswoman.
Only 23 people, including 18 who use Airbnb, have signed up with the city under a new local law that requires registration for anyone doing short-term rentals. The registration is free but there’s a $500 penalty for those who fail to register.
While Airbnb is collecting and remitting the taxes on behalf of its hosts, the city reminded residents that people who use home-sharing operators other than Airbnb are responsible for paying the taxes to the city and state.