Agreement With Airbnb Could Mean More Revenue For Kansas

Jan 16, 2017

It’s going to be easier for the state of Kansas to get its cut of profits from hosts who use the home-sharing platform Airbnb.

On Monday, Airbnb announced it would automatically collect Kansas short-term occupancy and sales taxes on bookings.

“This is something that became very clear: the hosts do not want to deal with these taxes,” Airbnb Midwest spokesman Ben Breit says. “No one wants to spend the money they’re earning on home sharing on a tax attorney.”

Because Airbnb doesn’t know how many of its hosts have been diligently paying the taxes on their own, it’s hard to say how much the state of Kansas stands to gain from automatic collections. Last year Airbnb did $2.1 million of business in Kansas.

“Practically speaking, all these taxes haven’t been going to the state as they’re supposed to,” Breit says.

Breit says this agreement is somewhat more complicated than the deals Airbnb has struck in other states because Kansas collects three different taxes on short-term rentals: a 6.5 percent retailers state tax, a variable local sales tax and a local transient bed tax.

In Lawrence, the most popular Airbnb destination in Kansas, the tax on a $100 room comes out to $15.05.

Breit says the agreement could potentially add “hundreds of thousands” of dollars to state coffers.

Kansas is facing a $350 million budget shortfall in the current year and a deficit of nearly $600 million in the next fiscal year. 

Elle Moxley covers Missouri schools and politics for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.