Vacation rental tax gains steam in Beacon Hill

In this file photo, a homeowner advertises a cottage that is for rent on a daily and weekly basis. — Photo by Michael Cummo

This week, State House Revenue Chairman Jay Kaufman stated that he thinks a room occupancy tax on summer cottages will become law this year, the State House News Service reported. Mr. Kaufman made his comments to Sarah Peake, state representative for Provincetown, who earlier this year, along with Dan Wolf, state senator for the Cape and Islands, introduced two bills that give towns the choice of regulating and taxing “transient accommodations,” and “vacation or leisure accommodation.”

“Mine and Sarah’s legislation would simply allow towns to charge the same occupancy tax that is currently being charged at hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts,” Senator Wolf said in a previous interview with The Times. “It’s not to usurp any local authority; in fact, it’s to enhance local authority. It allows towns to vote for or against it at town meeting. This could level the playing field with the hotels, and at the same time, generate much-needed revenue to support the infrastructure needed to accommodate these people. I’ve certainly heard from people on the Vineyard that they’re indeed looking at it.”

It is estimated that somewhere between 20 and 25 percent of houses on the Vineyard are rented at some point in the year.