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Massachusetts Airbnb tax looms as lawmakers strike deal

It’s up to Governor Baker now; new rules would add public database, additional surcharges in Boston area

Square apps glowing on a smartphone. BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock

Massachusetts lawmakers have reached a deal that would impose a 5.7 percent hotel tax on short-term rentals, including those through room-sharing sites such as Airbnb.

The legislation would also allow municipalities to slap an additional 6 percent tax on such stays; Boston proper would be able to charge up to 6.5 percent. The bill would also permit extra surcharges on each additional unit that an owner is renting out in a particular city or town.

Units in Boston, Cambridge, Worcester, Springfield, West Springfield, and Chicopee would be subject to an additional 2.75 percent tax for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, similar to what hotels already pay in those communities.

And units on the Cape and the Islands would also face a 2.75 percent tax on top for a new fund for wastewater treatment. Finally, the legislation calls for a public database of addresses of short-term rentals (though the database would not disclose owners’ names).

The taxes could raise at least $25 million annually for the state and that much more a year for individual municipalities, per the Globe’s Tim Logan and Jon Chesto.

It’s not clear, though, if the legislation will be enacted in its current form. It’s up to Gov. Charlie Baker, and he could end up vetoing it or sending it back for revisions.

What’s more, the state legislative session ends July 31, meaning any legislative response to actions by Baker after that date would have to wait for the Legislature’s return. Stay tuned.