Our view: NJ’s leveling of room tax playing field also dug a loophole

We’ve long felt it was unfair and detrimental to the hospitality industry for New Jersey to pile room taxes and fees on hotels while giving online room renters such as Airbnb a free ride. So we were glad that legislators and the governor finally leveled that playing field in this year’s budget agreement.

Unfortunately, Democratic leaders did this in a way that created a loophole for one accommodations segment and handed the real estate industry a big gift.

Now everyone who rents out rooms and homes on a short-term basis will pay the state sales tax of 6.625 percent, the state occupancy 5 percent tax, plus local room taxes — a total that can approach 14 percent — except those who pay a licensed real estate broker to hand guests the key.

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