Changes are on the horizon for taxes short term rentals pay in many municipalities, including Golden.
In the spring, the province implemented a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on short term rentals across the board. This grouped online rentals and in person rentals together, and required that operators pay an eight per cent tax on the rental sale of the unit.
Beginning in October, the Municipal Regional District Tax (MRDT) will tack on an additional three per cent onto the price, bringing the tax total to 11 per cent.
This subsequent tax doesn’t include those who make less than $2,500 per year on their short term rentals. Previously, anyone who had four or more rental units had to pay this amount, and that rule is being removed, and will encompass all rentals moving forward.
“The province announced that there was an intention to make changes to the accommodation PST and MRDT,” said Tourism Golden executive director Joanne Sweeting. “There needs to be a balance between short term rentals which satisfy consumer demands, which are growing.”
As online booking continues to grow in popularity, the province decided it was necessary that online travel agencies, like Expedia and Airbnb, collect the taxes from the website. If someone rents their short term vacation rental through a website that does not collect the tax, they are responsible for collecting it.”The government has listened ad has levelled that platform, and we’re happy with that,” Sweeting said.
Golden has more than 200 available rentals on www.airbnb.com, which range in price from around $50 to $200 per night and include options like renting a room in a house, an entire house or apartment, sharing sleeping space with other people, and private getaways from cabins and travel trailers to high end condos.
“I doubt they will ever be completely eliminated,” Sweeting said.
The Town of Golden has a bit of a role to play in the changes to the short term rentals, and will be picking up at council from where they left off last year, getting bylaws in order and permitting approvals by legal council, which should start this fall, Town of Golden CAO Jon Wilsgard says.
“The change really has been from the provincial level,” he said. “They have given new power to strata councils to levy pretty hefty fines.”
The MRDT is charged in participating areas to raise revenue primarily for tourism marketing, programs, and project, and Sweeting says some of those funds could be used to create affordable housing in the area as well.
In the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Golden has opted to participate in the MRDT, along with Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and the rest of Electoral Area A, excluding Yoho National Park.