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Evanston announces new tax agreement with Airbnb

Evanston+Mayor+Steve+Hagerty+speaks+at+a+panel.+Hagerty+said+Airbnb+attracts+visitors+to+Evanston+and+will+contribute+to+the+tax+base+in+the+future.+
Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty speaks at a panel. Hagerty said Airbnb attracts visitors to Evanston and will contribute to the tax base in the future.

Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty speaks at a panel. Hagerty said Airbnb attracts visitors to Evanston and will contribute to the tax base in the future.

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty speaks at a panel. Hagerty said Airbnb attracts visitors to Evanston and will contribute to the tax base in the future.

Clare Proctor, Reporter

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Airbnb hosts in Evanston will automatically collect and remit a 7.5 percent Hotel/Motel and Vacation Rental Tax on bookings starting Feb. 1, according to an news release.

The city and Airbnb finalized the tax agreement on Thursday. Previously, short-term rentals such as Airbnb were not included under the city’s taxation laws, but this agreement amended the law to expand the hotel taxation category to include short-term rentals, the release said.

Under the new arrangement, the release said, guests at Evanston Airbnbs will now pay the Evanston Hotel/Motel and Vacation Rental Tax, in addition to the Illinois Hotel Operators’ Occupation Tax and the Cook County Hotel Accommodations Tax.

“I’m pleased that Airbnb has made it easy for hosts to share their homes while also contributing to the tax base and the vitality of Evanston,” Mayor Steve Hagerty said in the release.

If Evanston Airbnb bookings match those from 2017, this new tax agreement would streamline $83,000 worth of taxes back to the city, according to the release.

Airbnb currently offers rental locations in more than 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The worldwide company was valued at $31 billion as of May, according to Statista.

Evanston is not the first Chicago-area location to make a similar agreement with the company. Airbnb hosts in Chicago, Schaumburg, Oak Park and Rockford also automatically collect and remit taxes on rentals, according to the release.

“Our hosts want to pay their fair share, and we want to help,” said Will Burns, Midwest policy director for Airbnb, in the release. “This tax agreement will only enhance the economic impact by delivering a brand new revenue stream for the city.”

Burns said Airbnb pays a “tremendous service” to the communities they’re located in, by both attracting more visitors to local businesses and paying necessary taxes.

In Evanston, Airbnb hosts benefit the city by allowing for further capacity, especially during events that fill up the four hotels in Evanston, the press release stated. The greatest surge in Airbnb rental in Evanston coincided with Northwestern’s commencement ceremony, it said.

“With our beautiful lakefront, booming culinary scene, unique local shops and world-renowned institutions like Northwestern University, Evanston has quickly become a top destination for visitors from near and far,” Hagerty said. “Home sharing allows even more visitors to stay in our community.”

Email: clareproctor2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ceproctor23

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