Some tony Colorado ski towns are cracking down on people who rent out their homes without paying taxes, as local governments keep scouring the tax terrain for hidden revenue.The hard part is collecting, without spending more on the effort than the revenue it reaps.Several of Colorado’s toniest ski towns — including Aspen, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs and Telluride — are cracking down on real estate owners who rent their homes to tourists without paying taxes and other fees. Ann Zimmerman has details.Aspen estimates it is losing $100,000 a year in revenue—in a budget of about $86 million—on residents who fail to get a business license and pay taxes when they rent out their houses or condos, according to Don Taylor, Aspen’s finance director. City officials have proposed that property owners apply for a permit that would be revoked for noncompliance, such as not offering adequate off-street parking. The planning commission will discuss the proposal Tuesday.Breckenridge, where 75% of the dwellings are residents’ second homes, estimates it also is losing out on $100,000 or more annually on lodging taxes, which go into the town’s marketing budget, and sales on rental fees, said town manager Tim Gagen. Breckenridge’s general-fund budget is $21 million. Still, the town estimates that the lost revenue comes to about 8% of the marketing budget. Steamboat Springs and Telluride, too, are looking to root out offenders. Hotels and other lodging establishments in Colorado’s ski towns, which pay from 7% to 10% of their revenue in combined taxes, also are behind the push. "This is a way to maintain a level playing field," said Joyce Burford, executive director of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns, which represents 24 Colorado towns and one county.
By Ann Zimmerman, August 2, 2010 WSJ
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Also: City Zeros in on Vacation Rental Tax Scofflaws, August 2, 2011 Aspen Daily News:
ASPEN REAL ESTATE – A controversial proposal to tax and regulate Aspen homeowners who privately rent their properties has caught the attention of some critics.Those who work in the real estate industry and individuals who privately rent their Aspen properties are taking issue with the city of Aspen’s plan to subject a segment of vacation rentals to sales and lodging taxes.The proposal will go before the city’s planning and zoning commission today at 4 p.m., and will involve a discussion on whether to require property owners to apply for a permit and business license before they can rent their homes and condos.And that doesn’t sit well with some who will be affected.Aspen resident and real estate agent Denise Reich, who owns three rental properties in town, said the move is anti-business and anti-local.“We do not need to live in a communistic community,” she said. “I think Russia is more free than Aspen.” Reich added that if the regulations are passed, she will not participate in the rental pool any longer.
By Carolyn Sackariason, August 2, 2011 ADN