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Taxes - Configuring Taxes

To configure taxes, you first need to collect full details of all the relevant tax requirements information.

💡 Recommendation

Remit taxes yourself if at all possible. If you have the choice for the channel to remit taxes on your behalf, or for you to remit taxes yourself (like in the case of Airbnb where they allow custom taxes in your area), then choose to remit all the taxes yourself.

This can seem like more work, but it actually ends up with less work - you have to remit taxes for bookings from other channels anyway, and come audit time, you'll have to combine and document both. So doing all bookings the same will end up simplifying matters.

Once you've collected the information about what taxes are due, you can configure them in OwnerRez. It is important to configure each taxing authority separately -- for example, create one 7% State tax and a separate 3% City tax. Don't create one combined 10% City and State tax. If you combine them, you won't be able to separately apply criteria to them like whether different channels remit the tax. Even if both taxes are treated the same now, this may change in the future.

Here is a list of possible scenarios with steps to configure each one:

Tax remitted for all bookings, regardless of channel

This is the simplest scenario -- just set a tax name and amount. The defaults will make it applicable to all properties and channels.

Tax remitted for some properties and not others

If your properties are in different areas, they'll often have different taxes. Maybe the state tax is applicable to all properties but one local tax is only applicable to some properties and other local taxes are applicable to other properties.

To configure the property applicability for each tax, set the Properties setting under the Criteria section.

Tax for stays under 30 nights and not for longer stays

Some areas have tax due only for short term stays and not for longer stays. To define what "long term" means, set the Max Nights setting under the Criteria section. Anything over that number of nights will not have the tax applied.

Tax remitted for direct bookings but not Airbnb or Vrbo

If Airbnb and Vrbo (or any other channels) are remitting the tax in your area, set the Applicability setting in the Channel section to "Everything but" the channels that remit the tax.

Tax remitted for direct bookings and Vrbo, but not Airbnb

Similar to the above, if you're remitting taxes for direct bookings and Vrbo bookings but Airbnb bookings, set the Applicability setting in the Channel section to "Everything but Airbnb". This will be the case if you're Vrbo API integrated but don't use Airbnb custom taxes.

Changing channels that a tax is collected for (like when you go Vrbo API or Airbnb custom taxes)

If the tax applicability per channel changes over time, you can set effective dates with different Applicability settings in the Channel section. For example, if you start with Vrbo remitting the taxes but then later go API integrated, you'd have the first applicability "Everything but Vrbo". And then later on the API integration date, you'd have another applicability for All.

Changing tax rates

If tax rates change over time, you can add a new effective date and rate in the Rate section. For direct bookings, Vrbo API, and TripAdvisor API, those effective arrival dates will be respected. For Airbnb, they don't have applicable criteria so the tax will update on their site when the effective date is reached.

Changes to tax rates will only be applied to new bookings as they come in.  They do not retroactively apply to any bookings that already exist, even if their dates of applicability would otherwise mean that they should.

  • For direct and some API bookings, you can manually edit the Charges to include the new tax and (if necessary) collect an additional payment, but you should communicate with the guest first before hitting them with an unexpected charge.
  • For channel bookings where the channel is collecting the payment from the guest, particularly Airbnb, the only way to collect additional taxes is by using the channel's Resolution Center or its equivalent.

Registration information

Each tax has a section for Registration information:

If you are intending for Airbnb to collect this tax on your behalf, this entire section is required to be completed - if you don't, Airbnb will ignore that tax.

If you are not using Airbnb, or you don't need special Airbnb configuration for this tax, then this section is not used programmatically, although it may be a convenient place for you to store the information regarding your various tax accounts.

Configuring Airbnb custom taxes

If Airbnb supports custom taxes in your area, you can configure them in OwnerRez. For more information, see the Airbnb API: Collecting and remitting taxes article.

For taxes that are both collected and remitted by Airbnb, those taxes won't be included in the charges at all, so it won't matter if PM or owner is set as the party that remits them.

In general, you should set that the PM or owner will remit taxes based on what is supposed to happen with your direct bookings, and ignore Airbnb's tax handling.

Taxes and Booking.com

Whether you are connected to Booking.com using our API or not, it is not possible to configure taxes in OwnerRez and have them used by Booking.com. You also cannot configure them on the Booking.com control panel. You must call Booking.com support on the phone or internal messaging system, telling them your taxes, and asking them to manually configure those taxes on your listings.

Until you have done this, taxes will not be charged on your Booking.com bookings.  You'll have to deduct them from the rent you collect.

How do taxes create booking charges?

Once you've got taxes configured correctly they'll be applied to bookings that come in after the configuration is complete. Depending on the channel, this may be done a bit differently, so here's how it all breaks down:

  • Direct Bookings - For quotes created in OwnerRez, whether direct booking or sourced from an inquiry on a different channel but reserved in OwnerRez, charges are created automatically based on the taxes configured in OwnerRez and applicable for the channel as of the booking dates.
  • Vrbo API bookings - For these bookings, Vrbo will send the tax item and amount for each configured tax and charges will be created on the booking accordingly.
  • Other API channels (Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor) - For these channels, the channel doesn't send an identifier we can match to the tax configuration in OwnerRez. Instead, we split up the total taxes sent by the channel to be remitted by you based on the tax configuration in OwnerRez -- see below.

    Taxes remitted by the channel will be populated on the Guest Channel Fees section of the Charges tab.
  • Channel Bridge Bookings (both Airbnb and Vrbo) - For channel bridge, we can access information about taxes remitted by the channel. Those will be populated on the Guest Channel Fees section of the Charges tab.

    For any taxes remitted by you, neither channel sends an identifier we can match to the tax configuration in OwnerRez. Instead, we split up the total taxes sent by the channel based on the tax configuration in OwnerRez -- see below.

Tax calculation logic for total tax matching

For channels that send tax total only or don't send matchable identifiers, we use the following steps:

  1. Total up all taxes sent by the channel
  2. Run a quote for the booking dates in OwnerRez and capture the effective taxes and amounts.
  3. Deduct any flat taxes configured in OwnerRez from the channel total taxes and create those charges on the booking.
  4. If there are percentage taxes, split the channel total tax by the ratio of the percentages configured in OwnerRez and create charges accordingly.

    For example if you have a 15% tax A and a 5% tax B, then tax A would get 75% of the taxes sent by the channel while tax B would get 25% of the taxes sent by the channel.
  5. If there is a remainder but no percentage taxes are effective, that amount is stored in a generic "Channel name tax" charge.

Non-Taxable Rent

There are a handful of jurisdictions where Rent is not taxable, only Surcharge.  If your property is in one of these locations... lucky you!  Go to Tools > Rate Calendar > Settings and select this option:

It is highly unlikely you will need to use this checkbox, no matter how tempting it might seem.  Only do this on the advice of a suitable legal or accounting professional in your jurisdiction.