Friday, February 15, 2019

Eastham Vacation Home Rentals and Taxes

We saw this train coming. I've been against this new tax since it reared its ugly head a few years ago. On January 1st a new short term rental tax went into effect for rentals after July 1st. For the Town of Eastham, the breakdown will be as follows:
  • 5.7% to the state
  • 4% to Eastham via the state. This is the same rate as hotels and B&Bs currently pay. Municipalities can raise the rate as high as 6%, but Eastham has no current plan to do so. Raising the rate beyond the 4% would require approval at Town Meeting.
  • 2.75% to Eastham via a state water commission. For appropriate waste water/water quality projects.
  • Note - the law provides for an additional 3% tax for more than 1 rental in each town. Eastham is not imposing this part of the law.
  • Total – 12.45%
Since this is state-wide, it applies to every town in the state. There are a few other pertinent facts. ...
  • Short term - any rental of 31 days or less
  • Home exempt if rented less than 14 days per year
  • Rental homes must be registered in a new State database
  • Moneys to be collected by the party that collects the rent (rental agencies, internet rental companies, etc)
  • Homes must have $1M liability insurance coverage
The Town has nicely put up a web-page that covers this new law...HERE.

How will it affect rentals in Eastham? Certainly, the cost to a summer tenant will go up dramatically, but will it reduce the number of summer rentals? I think not. I travel a bit and stay in hotels. When I book a room I care about what I pay. But when I check out I simply pay the taxes. They aren't negotiable. Since all of Massachusetts is subject to these taxes, I don't feel that there will be any long-term reduction is short term rentals. My sympathy goes out to all the individual rental owners and those Mom and Pop rental companies that now have to sort out how they will comply with this new law. Ugh!

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