Renting Out A Room For The Eclipse? Don't Forget Idaho Taxes

Aug 14, 2017

If you’re renting out a room in your house or a camping spot in your backyard, you have to pay taxes on that.

Airbnb is reporting a 450% hike in the number of people coming to Idaho for the solar eclipse. Airbnb says it will be the biggest night in the Gem State for the company since it was founded. Over 8,000 guests have booked a place here so far.

And they’re not alone. People hoping to make a profit on August 21 are going online and even putting out roadside signs offering lodging. But many renters don’t know they have to pay taxes in Idaho.

The Idaho Tax Commission says you need to collect a 6% Idaho sales tax, a 2% lodging tax, and any local taxes that apply. That includes, in parts of Boise, the 5% Greater Boise Auditorium District tax.

Last December, Airbnb started collecting those taxes in Idaho. But if you’re not with the travel website, Renee Eymann with the Tax Commission says you may not know about the taxes.

“We see a lot of people who are trying to make some extra money and that’s great, we just want to make sure they don’t get dinged afterwards if they’re not collecting the taxes that they’re supposed to be,” says Eymann.

Eymann says the Tax Commission has been compiling a list of people they see who are offering lodging for the eclipse. There are already 1,000 people or properties on the list. They’re trying to contact as many as possible to tell them that before they rent, they have to register with the Idaho Tax Commission and get the right permits. Eymann says it’s easy and can be done online in five minutes.

And if you don't register and pay those taxes? Eymann says you can be charged with penalties and interest, along with the tax.

“We will be following up afterwards to make sure they have collected the tax and are remitting it to the Tax Commission,” Eymann says.

Eymann adds that if you’re selling anything else, like food or souvenirs, you must also collect the 6% Idaho sales tax.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2017 Boise State Public Radio