N.J. bill would tax Airbnb, online rentals like hotels

Jeff Goldman, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON — Online marketplaces such as Airbnb that offer short-term house and room rentals would be taxed like hotels under a proposal introduced in the state Assembly this week.

The bill introduced by Annette Quijano (D-Union) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) would impose a 7 percent sales and use tax and a 5 percent transient accommodation fee on accommodations booked through Airbnb and similar websites.

The caveat is that only landlords who have collected at least $1,000 by renting out their property in the past 12 months would be taxed.

Quijano said the new tax "is all about fairness," as traditional hotels and motels are required to tax guests at the same rate. "There is nothing fair about one company having to pay certain fees while another one that provides essentially the same service is exempt."

The bill (A-4048) would also authorize certain municipalities to impose a 3 percent transient accommodation tax.

Earlier this year, Newark became the second municipality in the state to tax Airbnb, following Jersey City, which did it last fall.

Airbnb users already pay a processing fee when securing accommodations. Founded in 2008, it says it offers 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 191 countries.