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Kansas City, Missouri, voters approve short-term rentals tax, lodging fees

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Posted at 11:30 PM, Apr 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-05 00:30:13-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, voters approved the city’s plan to collect the 7.5% convention and tourism tax on short-term rentals as well as raise its lodging and tourism fee during Tuesday’s primary election.

The city will raise its lodging and tourism fee from $1.50 per bedroom per occupied night to a maximum of $3. Hotels and motels would also collect the increased lodging fee, which has not seen an increase since 2004.

The lodging fee and tourism tax are passed on to guests, and operators do not pay those taxes.

Short-term rentals are properties, or rooms within properties, which owners list for rent for fewer than 30 days at a time. People typically use vacation rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo for advertising the rental.

The KCMO City Council voted Jan. 12 to put the two questions on the April 4 ballot.

City leaders held a press conference the next day where they pledged to do more to protect neighborhoods.

A two-part, city-wide audit released last November showed Kansas City, Missouri’s, inability to tax short-term rentals similar to hotels as well as the extremely low rate of registered rentals, which is only 7%.

From July 2021 to August 2022, the Kansas City's Auditor Office estimates there was a loss of $2.28 million from the 7.5% convention and tourism tax and $353,600 from the hotel, motel occupancy fee of $1.50 for each used room.

The city previously didn’t collect a convention and tourism tax or a lodging fee from short-term rentals as it does from hotels and motels.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee is set to discuss the two ordinances Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

The short-term rental registration process could start as early as May 15. However, the city won’t be able to capitalize on the thousands in town for the NFL Draft, which is from April 27-29.