Financial Matters Lodging Tax

Opposed to the Lodging Tax? Join us in our fight against it!

Written by Joan Talmadge
5/5 - (7 votes)

Co-owner of, Jeff Talmadge, two members of our staff, and I spent this past Thursday at the State House in Boston for the second time in a month advocating on behalf of our homeowners against the proposed Lodging Tax. We met first with Rep. Jay Kaufman, Chair of the Joint Committee on Revenue, and then Rachel Lake, Operations and Constituent Services Director for Senator Julian Cyr, who represents the Cape and Islands. 

As we mentioned in previous communications on the topic of the Lodging Tax, the momentum is growing among Cape and Islands Chambers of Commerce and state legislators across the state to impose the 11.7% Lodging Tax to all short-term rentals, with 5.7% going to the state and up to 6% to the towns. 

Our opinion piece that was published in the Cape Cod Times on April 5, “Lodging Tax Will Gut Tourism Industry,” outlines our reasons for opposing this tax.

Despite our concerted efforts for nearly ten years, it is becoming increasingly clear that legislators are intent on imposing this tax and will likely succeed. View Chairman Kaufman’s honest assessment in our interview with him Thursday: 

Homeowners can certainly continue to lobby against this tax, but a more realistic approach at this point might be to attempt to mitigate the negative effects it would have on the Cape and Islands.  In our discussions with legislators, we’ve recommended phasing in the tax over a period of several years in order to soften the blow of such a large tax all at once.  We are also advocating to have the tax imposed only on rentals that are rented for longer than 100 days, and for a bill that would distinguish between different rental markets. 

The legislators need to hear the voices of homeowners! We urge you to write to any or all of the legislators below, all of whom have submitted bills to impose this tax.  It’s important that you voice your opinion about this tax and its potential effect on you personally, your guests, and the Cape and Islands vacation industry overall. We are doing everything we can, but ours is only one voice and strongly needs the support of others.

Wondering what to say to the legislators?  View our opinion piece referenced above: Lodging Tax Will Gut Tourism Industry for specific arguments against the tax.

Representative Sarah Peake, Lower and Outer Cape,, Bills H2642, H2637, H2640

Senator Julian Cyr, Cape and Islands,, supporting Rep. Peake’s Bill H2642

Senator Michael Rodriguez, First Bristol and Plymouth,,  Bill SD 1118

Representative Aaron Michlewitz, 3rd Suffolk,,  Bill H3454

Senator Eric Lesser, First Hampden and Hampshire,, Bill S1553

Representative Brian Dempsey, House Chair of Ways and Means,

About the author

Joan Talmadge

Joan Talmadge - My husband Jeff and I created in 1997, shortly after buying our Cape home. My background includes teaching fifth grade for 8 years and writing and editing educational publications for 15. I get great joy from helping fellow homeowners successfully rent their homes. Jeff and I are proud to have two of our three grown children working for, truly a family-run business. For me, the Cape and Islands are magical all times of the year -- whether it's walking on Nauset Beach, playing golf, or enjoying family and friends. Email Joan


  • Hello Joan,
    Thank you for the informative piece. It looks to me that this tax is going to happen once the details are ironed out. Depending on how this happens there is a point at which it will no longer be profitable to rent our house. We don’t look to make a lot of money on our Cape home. We are happy being able to cover the cost of weekly cleaning, Comcast and lawn care for the summer months. Sometimes we have a bit left over to replace lighting or a bathroom floor.

    Being my own agent, with three jobs that I juggle is difficult at best. We rent because we delight in people staying with us to enjoy the comfort of our small place and serenity of our neighborhood.

    In my area, there are many people in my same boat. If many of us decide it’s no longer worth the trouble to rent it is bound to take a toll on the overall prosperity of our community. It’s only non-Cape dwellers that could vote for this tax. Cape people know and enjoy the service they provide. I know I do not look to raise my rates to compensate for the probable taxation. I will simply call it quits.

  • Thank you Joan and Jeff. This law would be the death of rentals as we know it in MA. I am a New York resident coming out to the Cape for over 30 years and have a full house all summer long. Not anymore if this goes through. Sad times, Mark Desiderio

  • HI Guys,

    I have just sent letters to S. Peake and J. Cry as well as the entire Joint Committee on revenue.

    I have also passed the word on to facebook friends.

    Hope it helps.

  • Yes thank you Joan & Jeff for the excellent piece in the Cape Cod Times. One thing I think that needs to be pointed out is owners who live in Massachusetts and rent. We already pay the Commonwealth income tax on the rentals, if a lodging tax comes in on that income it would be double taxed. I will be pointing that out to my legislators in my letters.

  • Hi Joan. I am a 4th generation Cape homeowner who lives out of state. We have no voice yet we already pay ridiculous taxes. And fees for this and that. We love the Cape but we can no longer afford to keep our Cape house. We charge rental fees that compare with those of our neighbors but we come a long way from breaking even. If an 11% tax is imposed- there will be one less piece of rental property in Eastham. I have had most of my renters for over 20 years. I have had to expand my season into late Fall and still we can’t keep up with expenses. We have no voice with legislators because we are not residents. Talk about “taxation without red presentation”. And in the state of the Boston Tea Party!

  • Thank you Joan and Jeff. I will write to each of them today as I did last time. We are not MA residents. We live in NH, and own our family home in OB as well as our rental home next door. We don’t even come close to covering 1/2 of the yearly mortgage with our rentals. We’ve owned this 2nd home for almost 6 years and I’ve spent the last 2 years contemplating selling it. This tax will send me over the edge