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TC highest Airbnb tax earner for state this summer

Michigan earned a lot more in taxes from Airbnb rentals this summer than was initially projected. 

"In just three months, it’s meant nearly $1 million to the state Department of Revenue," says Ben Breit, the Midwest press secretary for Airbnb, "which obviously benefits the entire state and hopefully all the municipalities."

Breit says Airbnb began collecting a six percent use tax for the state on July 1st. The estimated $1 million in taxes was collected July through September. The vacation rental site had initially projected a few hundred thousand dollars in tax revenue.

The Traverse City area was the top earner for the state with 15,350 guests coming to the region during that three month period. This indicates people are still renting out their homes even though most vacation rentals are illegal in Traverse City itself.

A number of other northern Michigan towns were also among the top 20 earners in the state, including Bellaire, Harbor Springs, Charlevoix and Petoskey. 

Breit says the success of Airbnb rentals has not hurt hotels.

"Hotel revenues and occupancy rates across the state – including in Traverse City  – have been skyrocketing for years," he says. "So this really does mean new revenue for the state."

Morgan Springer is a contributing editor and producer at Interlochen Public Radio. She previously worked for the New England News Collaborative as the host/producer of NEXT, the weekly show which aired on six public radio station in the region.