The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) receives revenues through the Province of British Columbia’s Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT).
MRDT – also known as Hotel Tax – applies to short-term tourist accommodation, including hotel rooms. This hotel tax is in addition to the eight per cent Provincial Sales Tax (PST).
The MRDT tax program was originally established by the Province in 1987 to support the financing and operations of incremental tourist related facilities as well as ongoing funding of tourism marketing and associated programs.
In Whistler, MRDT revenues are received by the RMOW and shared with Tourism Whistler based on a number of agreements. Revenues are reinvested by both organizations on behalf of the community. Expenditures are approved by, and reported back to, the Province to ensure ongoing alignment with the prescribed purposes of the tax as outlined in the Provincial Sales Tax Act.
MRDT (along with the Resort Municipality Initiative) has been critical for Whistler to supplement property tax revenues and ensure a revenue stream directly from, and reinvested back into, the tourism economy.
Increase to three per cent
Whistler received approval to increase its MRDT from two to three per cent on November 2018. With the increase, the community expects to collect approximately $2.5 million more revenue annually.
Allocation of the additional funding is subject to the “prescribed purposes” outlined in the Provincial Sales Tax Act.
Consistent with the Provincial Bulletin PST 120, accommodation providers will begin collecting the additional one per cent on December 1, 2018.
Changes to online accommodation
Airbnb and other online accommodation channels are legally required to submit PST and MRDT on short-term accommodation of less than 27 days.
The Province started this requirement on October 1, 2018. Compliance is a Provincial responsibility, and fines are in place for non-compliance, late filings or remittances.
The new rules work toward a more even playing field for all types of short-term accommodation sales to contribute to MRDT.
Incremental funds collected through this channel are eligible to be invested in affordable housing. The Province requires interested communities to submit an additional annual proposal to the Province.