Mayor Butt investigating whether owners of Airbnb listings in Richmond are paying taxes

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Mayor Butt investigating whether owners of Airbnb listings in Richmond are paying taxes

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said in his e-forum newsletter Monday that he is investigating whether owners of Airbnb listings in Richmond are paying their fair share of taxes to the city.

A search of Airbnb.com shows many options for rentals in Richmond in various neighborhoods, from an $85 per night studio on Ripley Avenue in the Iron Triangle, or a $700 per night “zen retreat” in Marina Bay. While the mayor says the rental activity “appears to be a good thing,” he has asked city staff to review if owners of the listings are paying taxes.

“We don’t know how many of these, if any, are registered and paying taxes,” Butt said.

The mayor cited two Richmond municipal code sections regarding the taxing of lodgings. One is the Uniform Transient Occupancy Tax, which requires lodging facilities to pay 10-percent of the amount paid for occupancy. The second is a fee paid per rental as part of the newly renamed Richmond Tourism Business Improvement District.

The mayor remarked how even some of his neighbors have Airbnb rentals.

“They probably won’t be too happy with this, but I have no intention of turning them in,” Butt said. “I just want them to pay their taxes.”

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