Short-term rental owners in Suffolk are about to use artificial intelligence to avoid the local hotel motel tax.

In an effort to collect more taxes from hosts on platforms like Airbnb, Long Island County will implement an artificial intelligence software program starting next week, Newsday Report.

Government software provider Granicus is managing the project, which combines artificial intelligence technology with human analysis to identify homeowners who rent out properties and inform them of their 5.5 percent tax, up from 3 percent this month.

The software takes data from home-sharing websites and uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and human analysts to determine the number and location of rental properties. The software confirms rental activity by cross-referencing listing photos with publicly available data and checking calendars and guest reviews.

Graeme Dempster, Granicus’ North American product director, estimates it could bring in an additional $9 million to $12 million in tax revenue. County Comptroller John Kennedy is skeptical. Tax revenue for the county is $10.9 million in 2021 and $14.2 million in 2022.

In addition to boosting revenue, AI software promises to streamline law enforcement by reducing the burden on county staff. The software costs about $270,000 a year, according to county officials.

The new tax revenue will support the proposed Ronkonkoma Convention Center and increase spending on tourism promotion on Long Island. (Nassau, another county on the peninsula, recently announced a new marketing campaign.)

While Suffolk County has long required homeowners to register and pay taxes, compliance has been low. Dempster estimates that fewer than 10 percent of landlords meet their tax obligations. Homeowners who fail to report short-term rental income could be fined up to $1,000 or jailed for a year, but it’s unclear if anyone has done so.

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Granicus has identified 7,500 short-term rentals in the county, including the East Side.

Airbnb, the dominant short-term rental platform, expressed its support for the plan, saying in a statement that it “advocates for a centralized statewide tax collection system to streamline the tax collection process for jurisdictions across the state and ensure they receive a fair share of taxes.” share of income.”

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The post Suffolk County uses AI to collect short-term rental taxes appeared first on The Real Deal.

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