Hotel occupancy tax collections are set to be expanded following a unanimous vote by the Amarillo City Council.

This month, the Amarillo City Council voted 5-0 to expand hotel occupancy tax collections to include short-term rentals and bed-and-breakfast properties. In a memo to the city council, staff said the expanded tax collection ordinance would require anyone staying at short-term rental properties for less than 30 days to pay hotel taxes. The change will increase the tax bill paid by short-term renters.

According to KFDA-TV, short-term rental properties operating through sites like Airbnb and VRBO will now be required to register with the City of Amarillo’s finance department in order to pay hotel occupancy taxes.

“We’ll be able to send letters and information to them to let them know what the process is and what the requirements are,” Andrew Freeman, Amarillo planning and development services director, told KFDA. “Most of them don’t know what taxes they need to be paying, so we’ll be letting them know what the process is.”

According to the Texas comptroller’s office, Airbnb has been collecting the state’s portion of the hotel occupancy tax since early 2017. However, Amarillo officials say the sites have not been collecting the hotel occupancy taxes meant for the city or for the Potter-Randall Events Venue District. The new ordinance, however, will allow local entities to collect a share of the hotel occupancy taxes in addition to the state’s portion.

According to officials, the change to the ordinance does not address licensing or permitting requirements for those operating a short-term rental.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.