MISSOULA — The Montana Lodging and Hospitality Association with Location Missoula is pushing again towards opposition to a invoice supposed to utilize the same procedures on tax collections for all journey associates, which includes national platforms like Airbnb and Expedia.
The Travel Technologies Affiliation past 7 days voiced opposition to Senate Bill 52, saying it would introduce “new taxes” on on the net vacation agents, such as Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity.
But Whitney Bergmann, board chair of the Missoula Tourism Business Advancement District and a representative of Vacation spot Missoula and the Montana Lodging and Hospitality Affiliation, explained the technological know-how association was mispresenting the bill.
It is not a new tax but alternatively, an update of language at first published ahead of the digital age, she said.
“It needs an update of the lodging tax language that can make it very clear that it is applicable to everyone offering lodging rooms in Montana, the place the massive platforms have been ready to from time to time skirt that at moments by virtue of language that was prepared in the 90s with out them in brain,” Bergmann claimed. “It’s definitely just a clarification of language, that the present lodging tax applies to everyone, from motels to huge hosting platforms like Airbnb.”
The monthly bill sailed by means of its respective Property and Senate committees this month and is established for last planning. When signed into law, the evaluate will revise the state’s lodging facility use tax and Montana’s income tax on lodging and car or truck rentals.
It will also demand all travel agent platforms to gather and remit people taxes to the condition, including electronic vacation brokers.
“They will be liable for the assortment and remittance somewhat than getting that tumble on the regional house owner,” said Bergmann. “Because their system didn’t have that designed in, necessarily, you have a ton of onus on the home owner on how that’s managed and used. This will make it so that is uniformly used to the platform instead than the assets owner.”
Quite a few travelers e-book journeys by means of online brokers like Travelocity and Expedia, generating them accountable for hundreds of 1000’s of bookings in Montana just about every yr.
The Vacation Engineering Association thinks the evaluate will tax these agents service fees, therefore producing Montana far more highly-priced as a destination. For the state’s inns, mattress and breakfasts, and lodging institutions that husband or wife with people agents, the tax could make distribution far more expensive, the foyer team contends.
“New taxes that enhance journey fees will prevent readers and make Montana residents vacation to other states, forcing the state to miss out on recovering some of the $4.9 billion put in by tourists in Montana,” Shur mentioned.
“This new tax will also put Montana’s restoration behind other states, and the point out will not know the tax windfall of travel demand when our nation turns the corner on the pandemic and starts to see economic expending approach pre-pandemic stages.”
Bergmann disagreed, saying the association’s description of the evaluate as a “new tax” is deceptive. The tax has been in area for decades, she mentioned, and the new bill just modernizes the language and applies it evenly to all vacation groups.
“It’s meant to build uniformity for the Department of Earnings,” she reported. “It has language which is not apparent in phrases of how they can implement and how collections and remittance need to search. That language update is meant to deliver DOR clarity.”