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My husband and I rent two cottages on our farm to short-term guests.  Guests have full kitchens in which to prepare meals; we provide the breakfast foods.  The smaller one is listed on Airbnb, and both are listed on VRBO, HomeAway and Trip Advisor.  We are also fully licensed by Loudoun County as a B&B, with yearly health inspections and license renewal.

Unlike unlicensed renters, we collect 6 percent sales tax and 7 percent transient occupancy tax and remit the proceeds to the state and county, respectively.  We also pay for an annual county business license and business taxes, even paying tax on cottage furniture and fixtures, and we report cottage income and expenses on our state and federal tax returns.  Even with all these taxes and fees, we find it financially worthwhile to operate these guest cottages and we enjoy meeting many great people from all over the world.  We also know that many other local businesses – and the local government—benefit from what our guests spend at local restaurants, wineries, breweries, stores, events and historic sites.

Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms are great, but why should some owners be allowed to evade legal requirements and undercut the prices of those of us who follow the law?

Pamela Lane Baldwin

WeatherLea Farm, Lovettsville

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