Houston Airbnb customers: This is the new 7% tax you'll see on your bill

The Airbnb logo over the skyline of Houston.
The Airbnb logo over the skyline of Houston. (Getty/KPRC)

HOUSTON – Houston’s Hotel Occupancy Tax will be collected from Airbnb customers starting on Monday, according to an announcement from Houston First Corporation, a government corporation that promotes and markets Houston.

The 7% tax on Airbnb rentals will go to Houston First. According to a news release about the agreement, Houston is the largest Texas city to reach this kind of agreement.

The tax is used to fund the city’s travel and tourism industries and local art. The tax is used only to directly promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry. By state law, 19.3 cents of every dollar collected goes to city arts programs.

Hotel Occupancy Tax collections by Airbnb are expected to generate $3 million a year in Houston, according to Houston First, which owns the Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel and manages the George R. Brown Convention Center as well as 10 city-owned properties and developed the Avenida Houston entertainment and convention district.  

“Airbnb’s agreement to collect a tax that had already had been levied on hotel and motel guests will boost Houston First’s efforts to further increase the number of visits to Houston, which drew a record-high 22.3 million people in 2018,” Mayor Sylvester Turner is quoted saying in the release. “In turn, that will mean more dollars flowing into the Houston economy, creating even more jobs and benefitting Airbnb’s business and its affiliated local hosts. The additional funding for Houston’s thriving arts scene is icing on the cake and will add to the dynamic forces that are making Houston a more attractive place to enjoy for residents and visitors alike.”

Airbnb already collects the Texas State Hotel Occupancy Tax on behalf of all hosts -- including in Houston -- under an agreement with the Texas Comptroller’s Office, according to the news release of the announcement.

The news release says Airbnb delivered $15.3 million in tax revenue to the state in the first year of the agreement, citing a Dallas Morning News report that cited Airbnb officials’ accounting of the state tax revenue.

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