Airbnb Latest To Comply With OK Online Sales Tax Law

Saturday, June 17th 2017, 6:45 pm
By: Grant Hermes

Those looking to score a place to stay in Oklahoma with the room-share company Airbnb may notice a new charge starting next month; a sales tax from the state to the tune of 4.5 percent plus local taxes.

Airbnb allows travelers to rent a space from someone willing to open-up their home, one of the pioneers of the new "sharing economy" in the same class as Uber or Venmo. Normally excluded from state sales tax, the company and state have reached an agreement.

In a statement the Airbnb’s Public Policy Manager for the Southwest Laura Spanjian, said the company is "excited” about the new tax. 

"Our community of 860 hosts in Oklahoma wants to pay their fair share of taxes and we want to help," according to the statement.

But it isn't just Airbnb -- retail giant Amazon has also begun paying sales tax as of 2017. 

Last year, Gov. Mary Fallin signed the state's Retail Protection Act allowing the state to begin collecting sales tax from online companies. At the time, Oklahoma was leaving as much as $225 million on the table, according to estimates from the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

“It's something the last several years we're having a lot of luck with working with these companies and getting them to comply with state tax laws,” the OTC’s Paula Ross said.

The push to collect from online companies also helps prop up local brick and mortar businesses, which thought it was unfair their digital competitors were able to skirt paying taxes.

“With internet sales of merchandise or hotel rooms or anything along those lines, they're losing that tax dollar and it's really eroding the base,” Ross said.

She added the state is also working successfully to get the top 500 online retailers on board with the 2016 law. The tax on Airbnb goes into effect July 1.