Suzanne Stewart\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nFor several years, all lodging facilities in Pocahontas County have paid a hotel\/motel tax which is collected by the Sheriff\u2019s office and doled out by the county commission to various groups and organizations in the county, including public libraries and fire and rescue departments.\r\n\r\nWhether it\u2019s condos at Snowshoe, B & Bs throughout the county or a cabin \u2013\u00a0all overnight rentals are subject to hotel\/motel tax. This includes venues that are advertised and rented through online services such as AirBNB, Travelocity and VRBO.\r\n\r\nRental property owners who use online booking services have been responsible for remitting hotel\/motel tax collected from their guests. But, starting January 1, 2022, online booking services will have the hotel\/motel tax added to the online listing.\r\n\r\nPocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Cara Rose explained that the West Virginia Legislature passed a bill in 2021 that requires all online lodging rental services to add the lodging tax \u2013 hotel\/motel tax \u2013\u00a0to each listing of a rental in the state.\r\n\r\n\u201cRight now, homeowners have to pay direct to the courthouse \u2013\u00a0to the sheriff \u2013 their six percent and they need to take it out of their revenue stream,\u201d she said. \u201cThat\u2019s how it works right now. What\u2019s going to happen January 1, in addition to those line items [on the listings], lodging tax is going to be added.\u201d\r\n\r\nPrior to this piece of legislation, it was up to the property owner to collect and remit the lodging tax to the sheriff. Come January, the six percent tax will be added to the listing, in addition to the rate and state sales tax.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cIt makes it transparent for the guest, number one,\u201d Rose said. \u201cAnd number two, it makes it easier for the property owner who only uses AirBNB or VRBO, because they will no longer collect and remit state sales tax and lodging tax. But they need to make sure that it\u2019s being done on their behalf because it\u2019s still their responsibility, even though they no longer will have to actually write the check.\u201d\r\n\r\nInstead, the hotel\/motel tax will come directly from AirBNB, VRBO or Travelocity.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s a good thing,\u201d Rose said. \u201cI think it will generate more hotel\/motel tax.\u201d\r\n\r\nRose explained that rentals using online services will not have to add the tax to their listing \u2013\u00a0it will be done automatically by the company \u2013\u00a0but they should check to make sure it is added by January 1, 2022, just to be safe.\r\n\r\n\u201cAnybody who is a host will see it on their listing come January 1, which means the guests will also see it which is great because it makes it transparent, and that\u2019s really important,\u201d she said.\u00a0\r\n\r\nWhile it will seem cut and dried, Rose said there may be some confusion as to where the hotel\/motel tax goes. \r\n\r\nMost of the hotel\/ motel tax collected goes to the county, but lodging facilities within the town limits of Marlinton can send the tax to either the county or the town of Marlinton.\r\n\r\n\u201cI don\u2019t believe that AirBNB, for instance, has asked hosts \u2018where does your current hotel\/motel tax go?\u2019 Rose said. \u201cSo let\u2019s say somebody has a piece of property here in Marlinton. They have the choice. They can actually send it to the county or to the town. Most people send it to the town.\r\n\r\n\u201cBut if I live in 24954 in Edray, and I\u2019m on AirBNB \u2013\u00a0my tax goes to the county for sure \u2013 but how\u2019s AirBNB going to know if it goes to the town 24954 versus the county, because they\u2019ve not asked the host,\u201d she continued. \u201cI\u2019ve talked to a couple of hosts and they\u2019ve had no communication to them.\u201d\r\n\r\nTo ensure the hotel\/motel tax goes to the correct office for the rentals in the 24954 zip code, Rose said those hosts should reach out to AirBNB or the other services they use and designate where the tax should go.\r\n\r\nWith the change, Rose said she is optimistic that it will increase the amount of hotel\/ motel tax dollars collected in Pocahontas County, which will benefit a lot of organizations in the community.