Revelstoke Chamber proposes tax on vacation rentals

The Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce recognises the part vacation rentals play in bringing visitors to town, but they want the B.C. government to level the playing field on tax regulations.

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Short term vacation rentals enabled by technologies such as Airbnb are proliferating across B.C., leading to inevitable conversations about their impact on housing availability and taxation issues. The Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce estimates there are about 190 operating in Revelstoke and they are pushing for the province to intervene and to recoup taxes from the operations.

The local chamber in partnership with the B.C. and Revelstoke Accommodation Associations have submitted a policy for consideration at the upcoming B.C. Chamber Annual General Meeting on May 29.

In an email chamber sent out to members, they discussed the policy, which looks at the impact vacation rentals have on available housing and municipal resort taxes. It provides recommendations to the provincial government.

“The new, shared economy brings opportunities and challenges to traditional businesses and government policies,” the chamber email stated. “Short-term home rentals are an important component to the overall accommodation offering in communities. While platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO have the potential to be valuable conduits for bringing visitors to British Columbia and bolstering the tourism industry, there needs to be further management of this emerging sector.

“Currently, these commercial transactions may not be generating the tax revenue they should and, in some cases, may not conform to local bylaws.”

In other chamber news, after four years of service, executive director Judy Goodman has announced she will retire from the position in June.

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