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Airbnb prices could increase throughout capital region

4 months 4 days 13 hours ago Monday, March 18 2019 Mar 18, 2019 March 18, 2019 10:41 PM March 18, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - It could soon cost people more money to stay at Airbnb’s in the capital city. Legislation is in the works to add a tax to short-term rentals. The same tax is already placed on hotels, so those in the tourism industry say they want to level the playing field.

“We want to make sure all accommodations across all categories are paying the same amount,” said Laura Cating with Louisiana Travel Association.

LTA is helping the Louisiana Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau file a bill that would include short-term leasing companies in charging an occupancy tax to renters throughout the state. The amount of the tax would vary parish to parish. If passed, some of the money generated would go to Visit Baton Rouge helping fund tourism marketing.

“It could yield maybe $40,000 to $50,000 additional to market Baton Rouge,” said Visit Baton Rouge CEO Paul Arrigo.

Arrigo says in EBR the tax would be 4-percent of the rental cost. So that means the price to book an Airbnb or other short-term rental platforms like Booking.com and Expedia could go up, pending the legislation.

“They would obviously be paying 4-percent more than what they're currently paying,” said Arrigo. "It's paid for by the visitor. It's no different than the visitor pays the 4-percent at the Marriott, the Hilton or the Crown Plaza."

Collecting taxes isn't new for Airbnb. The company already collects and remits state and local taxes. That includes a New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Privilege Tax, and a Terrebonne Parish Occupancy Tax starting in April. The legislation would require similar occupancy taxes across the board in all parishes in the state. The bill is still in the developing stage and has not been filed yet.

An Airbnb spokeswoman released the following statement regarding the proposed legislation:

Airbnb is committed to helping our community pay its fair share of hotel and tourist taxes, and we have supported occupancy taxes being applied to short-term rentals, as long as there is parity with the hotel industry.

We're proud to have partnered with more than 400 governments around the world, including the State of Louisiana, to collect and remit taxes on behalf of our community. We look forward to working with Louisiana tourism officials to promote short-term rentals alongside hotels to travelers visiting the Pelican State.

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