County Staff propose Municipal Accommodation Tax

(Gazette file photo)

 

SARAH WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

 

On February 27th at 7 p.m., Prince Edward County Council will be holding a special Committee of the Whole Meeting to discuss a proposal for a municipal accommodation tax (MAT), as recommended by County Staff.

The mandatory 4 per cent MAT tax would apply to all roofed accommodations provided for a continuous period of 30 days or less.

The tax would only apply to the accommodation fee.

Those who stay at motels/hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and short-term accommodation rentals (STAs) would pay the proposed tax, with the amount being added to the guests invoice for accommodators to remit to the municipality.

“A MAT would support the services and resources that thousands of visitors access when they come to the county,” said Todd Davis, Acting Director of Community Development and Strategic Initiatives.

Furthermore, stated Davis, a MAT tax would help the municipality to grow their investment in the tourism industry without increasing taxes for local residents

Many locals are, in fact, already suffering from an affordability crisis-a situation which is in part due to the recent proliferation of STAs and other accommodations in the area.

“A MAT of 4 per cent is consistent with neighbouring cities and regions and is the industry standard across the province,” noted Davis. “Staff believe 4 per cent is a reasonable rate and will not impact consumer behaviour in any significant way.”

Since 2017, the provincial government has given municipalities the authority to impose a tax on transient accommodations. Under the legislation, 50 per cent of MAT funds must be used for infrastructure or services that support tourism. Reportedly, the remaining 50 per cent is to be used by “an eligible tourism entity” to support tourism promotion and development.

Staff has proposed the MAT tax be implemented in phases. Phase one will involve the municipality beginning collections of the tax as of June 1, 2020. During the second phase, staff are proposing to undertake public and industry consultation in order to inform recommendations to bring to council regarding how MAT funds should be spent.

For those who cannot attend, the special Committee of the Whole meeting will be live-streamed here: www.thecounty.ca