Vacation rentals advertised on Airbnb and other online sites often operate without paying local taxes, but MUNIRevs plans to change that for towns and cities across the country.
Erin Neer, a certified public accountant, founded MUNIRevs in 2011 but signed up this year for the Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs to accelerate the growth of her company and launch a new product.
MUNIRevs does automated licensing and tax collection for towns. It has eliminated 95 percent of the data entry done by government staff members.
While participating in SCAPE, Neer and her mentors identified a niche: automating the process for auditing vacation rental properties that were not paying taxes.
The new product, LodgingRevs, took the concept to the next level by designing a service to identify noncompliant properties, notify the owners and collect taxes for towns.
The notification that vacation rental owners receive directs them to a website branded with the town’s information and allows them to apply for a license and pay taxes online.
LodgingRevs software allows municipalities to track the company’s effectiveness and identify those vacation rentals that have not come into compliance.
MUNIRevs has signed up three current clients for the LodgingRevs service. The company expects to double the number of towns it serves from 10 to 20 this year, Neer said.
“The lodging tax is this really sexy point of entry,” she said.
Lodgers tax is also the most common locally administered tax around the country, and vacation rentals are a new problem that municipalities are just starting to deal with in many cases, she said.
The company’s goal is to add 30 towns a year for the next few years, she said.