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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 30, 2017 10:24 AM
From: Representative Doyle Heffley
To: All House members
Subject: Online Home Sharing registration - Heffley
I will be introducing legislation that would require online home sharing and short-term rental companies doing business in Pennsylvania to register with the state and share information with taxing authorities.

At this point, all hotels, bed and breakfasts and persons who provide temporary overnight accommodation to the public are required to collect state and county hotel taxes from their customers. This not only includes actual hotels but also individuals who offer their home or a room in their home for transient stays of less than 30 days, either through conventional advertising or through an online company. Essentially, if you are renting your spare room for a day or week at a time for money, that room is considered a hotel for hotel tax purposes, so you have to collect it from your patrons.

With the advent of online rental websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway, more and more individuals are doing this to earn extra money. Some have even turned it into a full-time business, offering multiple units for short-term housing.

However, some of these "hosts" (as Airbnb calls them) are not aware of their obligation to collect state and county hotel taxes, or are ignoring it. A tax is only fair if all who are required to participate do so. It is the job of the state and county taxing authorities to make these hosts aware of their obligation to collect the tax from their patrons. However, online rental companies are reluctant to share the names of their hosts. My legislation addresses that issue by requiring online short-term rental companies to register with the state and share the necessary business with the Revenue and county treasurers.

This will be a minimal obligation on the part of these companies that will help ensure that conventional hotels and bed and breakfasts are not put at a competitive disadvantage with hosts that do not collect the tax. Competition on a level playing field is a good thing, but that competition must be fair to all players.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB1810