Columbia to consider taxing Airbnbs and similar businesses

The city of Columbia is considering expanding the definition of a hotel to include short-term rentals, which would slap a hotel and sales tax on bed-and-breakfast establishments and Airbnbs.

The current definition of a hotel requires 12 or more rooms to be available for rent. If the definition is changed, “hotels” would include short-term rental businesses that rent out one or more rooms.

Currently, Columbia does not tax or regulate short-term rentals beyond a voluntary health and safety inspection. If city officials vote to change the definition of a hotel, these smaller lodging businesses might have to pay a 5 percent hotel and motel tax, as well as a sales tax, according to a news release from the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau. With the tax revenue, the city says it will pay for improvements to the Columbia Regional Airport and will fund the tourism bureau.

In addition to the hotel and motel taxes, a business license requirement will also be discussed.

The city is asking Columbia residents for their input on the possible changes. Two public meetings will be held this month — one at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 26, and the other at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28 — at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, 300 S. Providence Road.

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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