New Jersey lawmakers are moving to exempt many Shore-goers from an unpopular new tax on home rentals, but it’s still unclear when the change would take effect — and who exactly it would help.
A vocal group of renters and owners has been pushing for the change since last year, when lawmakers worked with Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, to create a nearly 12% tax on short-term rentals.
The law was intended to make accommodations booked through online marketplaces such as Airbnb subject to the same taxes as hotels and motels.
But the way the “Airbnb tax” was written, it applies to all rentals lasting less than 90 days not booked through a real estate broker, including Shore properties filled with the help of yard signs, classified ads, Facebook groups or personal connections.
The Assembly voted unanimously this week to approve a measure, A-4814, that would make the tax apply only to rentals arranged through marketplaces where bookings can be offered, reserved and paid.
That would spare renters who arrange their stays directly with property owners. The change would take effect immediately upon being signed into law by the governor, according to the bill.
But Sen. Vin Gopal, a Democrat from Monmouth County sponsoring a companion bill in the upper house, said he wants to amend the measure so the exemption applies more narrowly to owners with two or fewer units and their guests.
And under his bill, the change would not take effect “until the first day of the first calendar quarter beginning at least 60 days following the date of enactment” — meaning Oct. 1 at the earliest.
The state has estimated it will bring in about $8 million from taxing short-term rentals this fiscal year — and about $12 million to $15 million next year. The state’s current budget is $37.4 billion.