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Ulster's new comptroller to audit short-term rentals

Jan 27, 2020 2:45 pm
Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman Ulster County's new comptroller has announced her intention to launch an audit of that county's short-term rental industry. In an interview with the Daily Freeman on Mon., Jan. 20, March Gallagher said her office will be looking at the occupancy tax revenues collected by the county in 2019 to determine if the county is collecting all it can from property owners who rent their homes or rooms through online platforms such as AirBnB, VRBO or HomeAway. "We're going to audit what's there, look at what's been collected and look in a deeper way at what should have been collected," Gallagher said. Based on the findings, she added, her office could recommend ways to capture more of the revenues owed the county, including better collection methods. Ulster County Finance Commissioner Burt Gulnick said that preliminary data for 2019, indicates the county collected "well over $400,000" in occupancy taxes, a significant increase from the $180,000 collected in 2018. But, Gulnick said, simply based on a recent Airbnb report, the county should have seen $600,000 or more in tax revenue. The county requires everyone who regularly offers a room for short-term rental to register with the Department of Finance, collect the 2 percent occupancy tax from their guests, and send it to the county. "Ulster County has more hosts and more revenues and more guests than any other upstate county, so we should be leaders in figuring out how to benefit both on the tax side and on the economic impact side," Gallagher said. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.