County Board Exempts B&Bs from Hotel Tax

Bed & breakfasts and cottages are now exempt from Washtenaw County’s 5% accommodations tax, following final approval of ordinance changes by the county board of commissioners at their Aug. 1, 2012 meeting.

In addition to exempting cottages and bed & breakfasts with less than 14 rooms, the change also exempts individuals who occasionally lease out rooms. These types of establishments account for less than 1% of the total tax collected in Washtenaw County, according to a staff memo accompanying the resolution.

According to the county treasurer’s report to the Washtenaw County accommodation ordinance commission, in 2011 the county collected $3.99 million in accommodation taxes. The money is primarily distributed to the county’s two convention & visitors bureaus (CVBs) – in Ann Arbor ($2.69 million in 2011) and Ypsilanti ($898,563). The county treasurer retains 10% of the tax to cover collection and enforcement expenses.

The ordinance changes received initial approval by the county board at their July 11, 2012 meeting, and several B&B owners spoke in support of the proposal. No one spoke at the Aug. 1 public hearing.

The changes had been recommended for approval by the accommodation ordinance commission (AOC) in June. A staff memo states that the AOC had recently reviewed enforcement and administrative costs, and did not believe it was cost effective to enforce the ordinance with these smaller establishments. The staff memo also states that the local CVBs support this change, in part because the CVBs do not actively market these establishments.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]