By Cynthia Germain
Earlier this year, legislation was passed in Wisconsin at the behest of the Hotel and Lodging Association to have the Wisconsin Department of Revenue collect occupancy tax from online home-sharing services such as Airbnb. Although a boon for state and local income, it comes with issues unique to Door County. These online sites allow individuals to rent out their homes for short-term stays and have seen a dramatic increase in usage on the local, state and national level. Although the taxes will now be collected by the service agencies and remitted to the state for distribution, the taxes are typically reported by zip code. The Door County Tourism Zone Commission collects lodging taxes for the county’s 19 municipalities, and Josh VanLieshout, Chairman of the Door County Tourism Zone Commission, says that this creates a revenue accounting quandary as cities and townships share zip codes.
VanLieshout also notes that the zip code reporting also affects the data collected for the Door County Visitors Bureau that measures the tourism growth in areas of the county. This may ultimately require individual lodging permit owners to voluntarily report their occupancy. However, the revenue data may also make apparent those individuals who are not properly permitted by the Door County Tourism Zone. The Commission is working with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue to address and resolve these concerns as the implementation of this important legislation unfolds.