Airbnb signs tax agreement with city

Some recent Evanston listings on Airbnb.

The City of Evanston and hospitality company Airbnb have finalized a tax agreement that will allow the company to collect and remit taxes on behalf of its Evanston hosts.

Effective Feb. 1, Airbnb will automatically collect and remit the 7.5 percent Evanston Hotel/Motel and Vacation Rental Tax for taxable bookings.

Airbnb says it has partnered with over 350 local governments throughout the U.S. -- including the City of Chicago and three other Chicago suburbs -- to collect and remit taxes, help its hosts pay their fair share, and deliver new revenue to cities and states.

Evanston amended its hotel tax last fall to cover vacation rental properties.

If Airbnb’s bookings in 2018 are equal to 2017’s bookings, then the city will gain $83,000 in new revenue from the new ordinance.

“Our hosts want to pay their fair share, and we want to help,” said Will Burns, Illinois policy director for Airbnb. “Our Evanston host community provides a tremendous service to the City by allowing more visitors to stay in Evanston and spend money with local businesses. This tax agreement will only enhance the economic impact by delivering a brand new revenue stream for the City.”

Burns says the vacation rental units help the city handle major events that push the city's hotels to capacity. He says by far the largest surge to Evanston in the history of Airbnb’s platform occurred last June 18, for Northwestern University's commencement ceremony.

Aldermen are scheduled to review two requests for vacation rental licenses at their meeting next Monday. They are for properites at 710 Madison St. and 1827 Dobson St.

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