The Wednesday Word: Oppose Local Imposition of Room Occupancy Tax

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With Day on the Hill only one week away, be sure to read the final installment of the DOH Wednesday Word articles, as well as the other posts that review the issues we will discuss next week on Beacon Hill.

Don’t forget to check out the all-new, REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill Prep Video in which MAR Staff outline the do’s and don’ts for meeting with legislators on the hill.

This week we discuss opposition to Local Imposition of Room Occupancy Taxes. This is a prominent issue in the legislature and MAR Government Affairs has discussed and analyzed the issue as well as establish a subcommittee to review this issue in depth. Read more below about room occupancy taxes below:

Oppose Local Imposition of Room Occupancy Tax

ISSUE: Occupancy tax proposals promote the creation of a new tax on homeowners who choose to rent their homes for a short term.  In addition to established businesses like hotels, motels and bed and breakfast establishments, these proposals would allow a city or town  to levy a room occupancy tax on any apartment, single or multiple family housing, cottage, condominium or timeshare unit. Private homeowners or real estate agents would then be responsible for the collection, handling, and remittance of these taxes to the Department of Revenue.

The Legislation: H.2618/H.2621/ H.2700 (Brewster)/H.3299 (Provincetown)/S.1614 

Sponsors: H.2618-Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston), H.2621-Rep. Michael Moran (D-Boston), H.2700-Rep. Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster), H.3299-Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown), S.1614-Sen. Wolf (D-Harwich)

Legislative Actions to Date: All bills referred to Joint Committee on Revenue

What the Bills Do: The bills generally authorize a municipality to assess additional taxes on homeowners who rent their homes for vacation purposes.

Action Needed: Ask your legislator to oppose room occupancy legislation that would increase taxes on homeowners.

Remember to check out the Day on the Hill Facebook event page and visit the Government Affairs page for all your DOH updates and the 2015 Legislative Priorities. Finally, don’t forget to check out MAR President Corinne Fitzgerald’s Day on the Hill video so you can get the inside scoop on the 30th Annual REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill!

(Please note: This blog post was prepared by MAR Legal Staff: Michael McDonagh, General Counsel; Ashley Stolba, Associate Counsel; and Justin Davidson, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel. Edited by Christine Howe, Legal Affairs & Finance Administrative Assistant).

REALTOR® Day on the Hill Briefing: Room Occupancy Tax

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By Larry Myhre on Flickr

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts familiarizing members with the issues we will bring to the State House at REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill next week. See our blog for the previous issues.

REALTORS® Oppose Local Imposition of Room Occupancy Tax – H.2689 (Provincetown), H.2695 (Wellfleet), H.2752 (Brewster)

These proposals would create a new tax on homeowners who choose to rent their homes for less than 90 days. This means a city or town could levy a room occupancy tax on any apartment, single or multiple family house, cottage, condominium or timeshare unit, in addition to established businesses like hotels and bed and breakfast establishments.

MAR opposed this tax for several reasons. One, many private individuals are unfamiliar with the collection, handling and remittance of these taxes, as they have never been required. Inadvertent errors in compliance could results in penalties. Additionally, it may cause homeowners who rent not to report their rental income.

On a broader spectrum, for a community whose tourist attractions derive significant revenues from visitors who use short term rentals, this tax will negatively impact these revenues as seasonal rentals will not be available or will become too costly.

Ask your legislator to urge the Joint Committee on Revenue to OPPOSE any Local Room Occupancy Taxes at REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill.

2014 MAR President Peter Ruffini invites you to REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill, where REALTORS® will have a chance to network and learn about the key legislative issues that will affect the real estate industry and private property in 2014. Attend the REALTOR® Day on the Hill and make an impact on the legislative process. Check out the video.

REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill is scheduled for:
Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
10:00 to 11:00AM
Massachusetts State House, Great Hall