Short term rental tax

MA Short Term Rental Tax

Massachusetts Governor Baker recently signed into law a change to the taxable nature of short term rentals.  This affects many of the property owners on Cape Cod who rent for less than 31 days in the summer months.  Some relevant information can be found on the Massachusetts Association of Realtors website here but a quick synopsis is as follows:

Highlights:

New Tax Changes:

  1. State: 5.7%
  2. Local: up to 6% (6.5 for Boston)
  3. Cape Cod & Islands: includes additional 2.75% to fund Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund 
  4. A community impact fee of up to 3% may be assessed locally on professionally managed properties (Owners of two or more units in one town)
  5. Takes effect July 1, 2019.  Bookings made before January 1st, 2019 are exempt.
  6. Realtors who manage the rental bookings and collect the rent will likely be responsible for collecting the tax.
  7. Guidance and more details will follow from the IRS and state authorities.

We'll be keeping a sharp eye on this matter and updating you when we learn more information.  As always feel free to contact us with questions about how this will impact your rentals or your property management needs.

Our Take - Cape Cod Summer Rentals 2019

Are sharks really taking a bite out of the Cape Cod summer rental market?

The Boston Globe published an article on July 28th 2019 by Stephanie EbbertCape Cod rentals are having an unexpectedly slow summer.  As a quick synopsis the article states that summer vacation rentals are not filling up this year and hotels are down 5% (the data goes through May 31st only).  The article posits several explanations including the new short-term rental tax, increasing shark populations around the Cape, lousy Spring weather, and larger market and economic trends.

Our take on this matter: sharks and overall market conditions have been gradually applying pressure on the rental market for years: the sharks were here last year and the year before and some anecdotal evidence suggests they may be an attraction for some tourists.  The main culprit of the precipitous decline in bookings in 2019 is the new 12.45-14.45% rental tax.  Given the evidence that rentals are down across the state indicates this is not an issue solely on Cape Cod.  When a vacationer rents for $3000/wk the tax adds around $400, depending on the town.  Couple this with what may be the indications of a slowing economy and people may be spending their money closer to home this year and waiting to see how much certainty the future holds for their pocketbooks.

If you are getting sick of renting but still want to visit the Cape, give us a call about buying.  Then every season can be beach season!

Cape Cod Vacation Rentals Update Fall 2019

Vacation rentals on Cape Cod have been undergoing significant changes in the past 9 months.  Here is a quick update on the recent developments.  For more information we encourage you to visit the Massachusetts website of FAQs here 

What is a short-term rental?

According to the Commonwealth, "A short-term rental is an occupied property that is not a hotel, motel, lodging house or bed and breakfast establishment, where at least 1 room or unit is rented out by an operator through the use of advance reservations. A short-term rental includes an apartment, house, cottage, and condominium. It does not include property that is rented out through tenancies at will or month-to-month leases. It also does not include time-share property. A short-term rental is a rental that is not for more than 31 consecutive calendar days. The new law imposes state and local excises on short-term rentals of property for more than 14 days in a calendar year, starting July 1, 2019 for which a rental contract was entered into on or after January 1, 2019.  "

Taxes can be as much as 17.45%

All municipalities in the Commonwealth are subject to the 5.7% room occupancy tax.

Towns can choose to impose two additional taxes.  First is the local excise tax which can be anywhere from 0 to 6%.  Second is a Community Impact fee which can be anywhere from 0 to 3%.  Check the database here for your town or see below for all 15 Cape Towns.  Additionally the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund excise is 2.75% (currently no town on Nantucket or the Vineyard are subject to this).

Owner Requirements

Owners are now obligated to carry $1 million in liability insurance on each property.  Each property must be registered BY THE OWNER through MASS tax connect and tax must be remitted by the 20th of each month for the previous month's stays.  A full list of owner requirements is listed here.

What's being considered for the future?

As of right now (11/7/2019) Community Impact Fees have not been implemented in any Cape Cod Towns. However it behooves owners to read the First and Second Local Options of this FAQ from the State.  In these instances towns can add up to 3% Community Impact Fees if units are professionally managed.  If a tax of 17.45% sounds unreasonable, please consider speaking with your local representative to share your opinion.

Municipality Current Rooms Tax Rate Current Rooms Tax Effective Date Pending Rooms Tax Rate Pending Rooms Tax Effective Date Short-term Rental Community Impact Fee Rate Short-term Rental Community Impact Fee Effective Date Short-term Rental Professionaly Managed Option Short-term Rental included within 2-3 Family Home Cape & Islands Water Protection Fund Tax Rate Cape & Islands Water Protection Fund Effective Date
Barnstable 0.06 10/1/2010             0.0275 7/1/2019
Bourne 0.06 7/1/2019             0.0275 7/1/2019
Brewster 0.06 7/1/2010             0.0275 7/1/2019
Chatham 0.04 7/1/1988             0.0275 7/1/2019
Dennis 0.06 1/1/2020             0.0275 7/1/2019
Eastham 0.04 1/1/1987             0.0275 7/1/2019
Falmouth 0.05 1/1/2020             0.0275 7/1/2019
Harwich 0.04 1/1/1987             0.0275 7/1/2019
Mashpee 0.06 10/1/2019             0.0275 7/1/2019
Orleans 0.06 7/1/2019             0.0275 7/1/2019
Provincetown 0.06 7/1/2010             0.0275 7/1/2019
Sandwich 0.04 7/1/1986             0.0275 7/1/2019
Truro 0.04 12/1/1985             0.0275 7/1/2019
Wellfleet 0.04 7/1/1986             0.0275 7/1/2019
Yarmouth 0.06 7/1/2010             0.0275 7/1/2019

 

Curious about finding a rental management partner in Chatelain Real Estate, contact us today. 

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