New Look Vacation, Old Look Taxation

Will Burns, Airbnb Policy Director speaks at the MACo Summer Conference session, The New Look Vacation: Opportunities & Responsibilities in the Sharing Economy.  Photo courtesy @CitoyenBurns.

The sharing economy is rapidly changing the way people work, play and travel. Online platforms like Airbnb and VRBO offer tourists and business travelers alike entirely new ways to experience Maryland counties, providing opportunities to experience the greatest they have to offer from entirely new vantage points.

This remodeling of tourism also offers county residents new avenues to earn income and provide services for profit – begging the need for local governments to reexamine whether their methods of tax collection remain as equitable as they were when hospitality depended upon the brick and mortar, multi-unit hotel or motel. After all, if it acts like a hotel, shouldn’t we tax it like one?

At the MACo Summer Conference session, The New Look Vacation: Opportunities & Responsibilities in the Sharing Economy, representatives of the traditional lodging industry, Airbnb and county government all address how counties can apply hotel taxes equitably without undermining the sharing economy’s economic development and tourism potential. Hear perspectives from Airbnb Policy Director Will Burns, Maryland Hotel and Lodging Association President and CEO Amy Rohrer, and Montgomery County Chief of Treasury Michael Coveyou on how to best balance innovative new opportunity with basic principles of tax equity.

The New Look Vacation: Opportunities & Responsibilities in the Sharing Economy

The sharing economy is revolutionizing the tourism industry – and also disrupting how counties regulate and tax it. With a multitude of services from accommodations to transportation now booked online with everyday providers just trying to earn an extra buck, the way we tax and regulate the tourism industry must treat all providers equitably while also ensuring the safety of our residents. Join this session to learn more about the challenges, potential solutions, and county responsibilities in the sharing economy.


  • Will Burns, Midwest Policy Director, Airbnb
  • Amy Rohrer, President & CEO, MD Hotel and Lodging Association
  • Michael Coveyou, Chief, Division of Treasury, Montgomery County Department of Finance

Moderator: The Honorable Jason Buckel, Maryland House of Delegates

Date/Time: Friday, August 18, 2017; 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

MACo’s Summer Conference is August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: