Some Airbnb properties in Santa Fe could face higher property taxes
SANTA FE, N.M. — Airbnb property taxes could be going up, depending on how county assessors reclassify short-term rental properties. Santa Fe County is looking to make that change in the next few months.
According to Airbnb’s website, there are more than 1,000 short-term rentals in and around Santa Fe.
All of those properties will be getting a letter from the county assessor’s office in the next few days asking how they use these properties, warning folks their tax classification could change to non-residential.
“I can give you an example, if you have a guest home and a home, and the home is larger, and the guest home is the short-term rental, we’re going to state that the predominant use is residential because they’re living in the main residence,” Santa Fe County Assessor Isaiah Romero said. “And if we flip that, and you say, OK, we’re gonna live in the guest house, however, the main residence that is larger, we’re gonna go in short term rental, utilize the main home as a short-term rental, that’s a situation we’re going to call non-res due to its predominant use.”
Many Airbnb hosts are upset about this change because a non-res classification comes with a higher property tax rate—and they would lose their 3% cap on tax increases. But county assessors say the change is needed to follow state statute.
“Looking at the definition of residential and state statute, it’s the words that direct and are guiding us – residential does not include any properties that are temporary and transient,” Romero said.
Lincoln County has been classifying Airbnbs as non-residential since 2012. Santa Fe says they can make this change now because they started requiring all Airbnbs to register with the county and get a business license last year.
Other counties are following suit. Bernalillo County says it will take them longer because right now they only have a list of Airbnbs within Albuquerque city limits.
“Bernalillo County is actually having to rely on a third-party host verification software company that will be able to identify those. And so, we’re working initially on that to identify that list. Once we have that, then we will do and follow a very similar process as Santa Fe County is doing,” Bernalillo County Assessor Damian Lara said.
For Santa Fe County Airbnb hosts, the letters that are sent out Wednesday will have to be returned to the county assessor’s office no later than Feb. 28.