Just how much Hermann and Gasconade County might benefit from a good-neighbor gesture by Airbnb to collect and remit state and local sales and tourism taxes is unclear.
A spokesman for Airbnb, which Wednesday morning announced an agreement with state government to collect taxes on the rental of private home space booked through the company, said it could take several month before there is an indication of the revenue that could be seen by municipal and county governments.
It was reported in this week’s edition of The Hermann Advertiser-Courier that Hermann is Missouri’s 9th-largest home-sharing market, as determined by bookings through Airbnb.
Airbnb estimates that collecting the state sales tax could produce more than $1 million in revenue for state government.
“Unfortunately, because all these local taxes are so complicated and vary from city to city and county to county, we weren’t able to compute a similar estimate,” said Airbnb’s Benjamin Breit. “I think we’ll have a better sense after maybe 3-4 months of the agreement being into effect of what the economic impact will be for the locals,” he told The Hermann Advertiser-Courier.
Breit discounted the notion that Airbnb was making the move to placate growing resistance from some local governments about the short-term, home-sharing program. Indeed, some cities in Metro St. Louis have adopted local ordinances prohibiting short-term rentals, saying those rentals disrupt the character of single-family residential neighborhoods.
Also, the rather recent development of short-term, home-sharing rental has drawn the attention of Missouri legislators concerned about revenue lost through the lack of tax collection — taxes that are collected and remitted by hotels and motels.
“These agreements honestly are pursued separate from any political considerations,” Breit told The A-C. “We want to work with any local government, state or local, who’s interested.”
A request for comment from the Missouri Department of Revenue, which entered the agreement with Airbnb, received no response.