Tourism counties like Tucker, Pocahontas, Randolph and more could be losing out on a large amount of hotel/motel tax money, officials said.
During Tucker County Commission’s regular meeting Wednesday, Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora read information from the West Virginia Tax Department. LaMora informed the commission that residents are posting their homes for rent on sites like AirBnB and Vacation Rental by Owner but not paying into the municipal hotel/motel tax.
Taxes collected help counties, like Tucker, to fund emergency services, parks and recreation services and others.
“This is actually probably one of the most accidental crimes we have in this area simply because a lot of people don’t understand. If I’m renting my second home for the ski season, you do have to pay sales tax on that; you do have to pay the hotel/motel tax,” said LaMora.
Officials said not paying the tax is a criminal act and counties could be missing out on thousands of dollars in funding for each rental property. In Tucker County, steps are being taken to monitor and notify residents.