|Do you know of the new 11.65% tax, that will hurt our Jersey Shore Tourism, set to go in effect on October 1, 2018?
BACKGROUND: Assembly Bill A1753 and Senate Bill S749, passed during the 2019 budget negotiations, amending the NJ sales tax and NJ occupancy taxes. Our legislators intended this bill to be an “Airbnb” tax. To be imposed on short term rentals that were solely booked and paid for on sites like Airbnb, Homeaway, VRBO etc. This legislation was supported by the Hotel Lobby AND it was supported and endorsed by Airbnb!
Governor Murphy signed this bill into law in early July, publicly promising there was no tax on the shore. The problem we are facing is that the NJ Department of Taxation is interpreting this new law to be a tax on ALL short term rentals, including shore vacation rentals! The only exception, is for short term rentals that are booked through a Realtor. The bill was poorly worded and while it is clear that online “booking” sites have to charge this tax AND it is clear that rentals through a Realtor do NOT have to charge this tax, they forgot to address the tens of thousands of rentals that are “direct by owner” and not “booked online”, or through a Realtor.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO? We ALL need to act NOW! You need to CALL the Governor’s office as well as the office for your State Senator and Assemblymen. CALL, DON’T EMAIL as phone calls get more and faster attention. Tell them that you are calling to express your concern over the way the Division of Taxation is interpreting and enforcing this new law. This tax was only supposed to be a tax on short term Airbnb rentals NOT a tax on Shore Vacation Rentals. Tell them you own a Vacation Rental at the Jersey Shore that you rent out DIRECT without the help of a Realtor or Online “booking” sites like Airbnb. Request that they immediately look into how the Department of Taxation is wrongly enforcing this tax and insist that they enforce it the way it was intended, on ONLINE BOOKINGS. Explain to them how this tax would have a devastating effect on your ability to rent your SHORE vacation rental as well as the state’s “shore tourism economy”! Ask for them to return your call so their staff can’t just send you a canned email response.
Here is the link to the Division of Taxation’s interpretation of the new law:
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In addition to contacting the legislators for your home district I would also contact the ones who represent the Jersey Shore, as their districts will be directly impacted by this new law.
Lastly, we are working with the local Chamber of Commerce as well as two members of the NJ Assembly to get a more favorable interpretation from the Division of Taxation. If ANY of you have connections in the legislature, or have experience with the amendment or legislative process, please reach out to me via email at email@example.com. We can use any help we can get to try and make our “owner direct” rentals exempt from the new tax, like the rentals through the Realtors are.
If we ALL take action TODAY and call these representatives, they are bound to hear us. There are over 10,000 vacation home owners, and tens of thousands of vacationers who enjoy the Jersey Shore each summer so please call your state representatives TODAY!