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Taxes rise on short-term rentals in King County, Washington

  • Oct 19, 2018 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Seattle, Washington

Lodging taxes on short-term rentals in King County, Washington, will go up starting January 1, 2019. The increase comes as the King County Convention and Trade Center tax expands to lodging businesses with fewer than 60 units, including short-term rentals.

In Seattle, the Convention and Trade Center tax on short-term rentals will be 7 percent; elsewhere in King County, the tax will be 2.8 percent. Currently, short-term rental hosts in Seattle and King County must collect combined state and local sales taxes. The Convention and Trade Center tax will be additional.

The 7 percent tax increase for short-term rentals in Seattle will be implemented the same day that new short-term rentals laws passed last year by the City Council go into effect.

The new regulations require all Seattle short-term rental operators to obtain a short-term rental operator license that will allow them to rent one dwelling unit, or a portion of one, in addition to their primary residence. However, there are some exceptions for short-term rentals that were legally operating before September 2017.

Both HomeAway/VRBO and Airbnb collect lodging taxes for Washington hosts, including combined sales taxes and the Convention and Trade Center tax. Other Washington state taxes collected include combined sales tax, special hotel/motel tax, regional transit authority tax, and tourism promotion area charges. These taxes are automatically added to guests’ bills, collected, and remitted to the state by the rental platforms.

Even though HomeAway and Airbnb collect lodging taxes for their hosts, Washington state hosts are still required to register with the state Department of Revenue and file lodging tax returns reporting their rental income. Short-term rental operators may also be required to pay business taxes.

Washington state hosts who do not have platforms collecting taxes for them are responsible for registration, collection, and filing of all taxes due on their short-term rentals. MyLodgeTax can help short-term rental hosts figure out their lodging tax obligations and take care of any lodging taxes that are not collected for them.


Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.