Airbnb will collect taxes

BAR HARBOR — Internet rental service Airbnb announced this week that it has completed a Voluntary Collection Agreement (VCA) with the state of Maine that will allow the company to automatically collect and remit the state’s lodging tax on behalf of its community.

The agreement, which goes into effect April 1, is expected to grow the state’s tax base and allow the Airbnb community to contribute its fair share of taxes.

Maine’s Airbnb travel activity is surging. In 2016, Maine’s 3,700 active hosts earned more than $26 million dollars in supplemental income by welcoming approximately 174,000 visitors to the Pine Tree State – a 100 percent year-over-year increase in inbound guest arrivals.

The typical host in Maine earned $5,900 last year.

“From Portland to Presque Isle, Bangor to Bar Harbor, Airbnb is proud to be part of the historic tradition of Vacationland,” said company spokesman Andrew Kalloch.

“As the summer travel season approaches, we look forward to working with municipalities to continue to grow our community in the Pine Tree State.”

The state lodging tax is 9 percent, although Gov. Paul LePage has proposed increasing that to 10 percent.

Last year, the Bar Harbor area was the second busiest in Maine for Airbnb, with more than 7,000 guests and $1.4 million in fees collected. Portland ranked number one. South Portland was number three, followed by Ellsworth and Old Orchard Beach.

Airbnb has similar collection agreements with 16 other states, including Connecticut and Vermont in New England.

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