Navigating the Skaneateles Occupancy Tax: Balancing Revenue and Tourism Impact

Navigating the Skaneateles Occupancy Tax: Balancing Revenue and Tourism Impact

  • Kelli Ide
  • 01/30/24


Navigating the Skaneateles Occupancy Tax: Balancing Revenue and Tourism Impact

Skaneateles, a charming town in central New York, has recently implemented an occupancy tax to further enhance its community development initiatives. This tax, effective from January 1, 2024, adds a layer to the existing 7% hotel tax charged by Onondaga County. In this blog post, we'll delve into the specifics of the Skaneateles Occupancy Tax, its implications on businesses and visitors, and the potential benefits and concerns surrounding its implementation.

What is the Skaneateles Occupancy Tax?

The Skaneateles Occupancy Tax authorizes the town and the village to impose a hotel/motel occupancy tax of up to 5% per diem rental rate for each room, in addition to the existing 7% county tax. This brings the combined tax to 12%, making it one of the highest in the state. The tax covers various accommodations, including hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfast establishments, short-term rentals, and more.

Key Details of the Occupancy Tax:

  1. When does it go into effect? January 1, 2024. The tax imposed by this article shall be paid upon any occupancy on and after January 1, 2024, regardless of whether such occupancy is pursuant to a prior contract, lease or other arrangement.


  1. What about money for bookings that has already been collected prior to January 1, 2024? For any occupancy taking place on or after January 1, 2024, where rent has been pre-paid through a third party room remarketer or pre-paid in full to a third party or to the short-term dwelling unit operator directly and where such rent is paid prior to the effective date, and for which the short-term dwelling unit has no other direct financial transaction with the occupant, that occupancy shall NOT be subject to the tax. Where rent is paid on a weekly, monthly, or other term basis, the rent shall be subject to the tax imposed by this article to the extent that it covers any period on and after January 1, 2024. This section shall be deemed expired and repealed on December 31, 2024 and no exemption shall be available pursuant to this section after such date.



  1. Who will be affected? This affects the Town of Skaneateles and the Village of Skaneateles. Anyone who operates an Airbnb, short-term dwelling unit, hotel or motel in the Town of Skaneateles will be affected. Anyone who operates a hotel, motel or B&B in the Village of Skaneateles will be affected (short-term Airbnb/vacation rentals of less than 30 days are not permitted in the village).


  1. What is defined as a hotel/motel and short-term dwelling unit under this article? Hotel/Motel- “Hotel” shall mean a building or portion of it which is regularly used and kept open for the lodging of guests. The term “hotel” includes an apartment hotel, a motel or a boarding house, whether or not meals are served. Short-term dwelling unit -A facility or portion thereof, which is regularly used and kept open as such for the lodging of guests. "short-term dwelling unit" shall mean and include any facility providing lodging on an overnight basis and shall include but not be limited to hotels, motels, apartment hotels, boarding houses, tourist homes, motel courts, bed-and-breakfast establishments, short-term rentals, vacation rentals, clubs, campgrounds, or similar facilities, by whatever name designated, whether or not meals are served to guests or residents.


Financial Impact and Utilization of Tax Revenue:

According to town officials, the occupancy tax is anticipated to generate approximately $300,000 annually. The legislation allows the town to deposit this revenue into its general fund, providing flexibility for spending on community projects. Proposed utilization includes improvements to parks and other vital community initiatives.

Potential Concerns and Criticisms:

Despite its revenue-generating potential, the Skaneateles Occupancy Tax has faced opposition. The New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association, representing over 1,000 establishments across the state, has expressed concerns. Critics argue that the tax may adversely impact smaller, local hotels and could deter repeat visits from tourists.


As Skaneateles navigates the implementation of the occupancy tax, it is essential to strike a balance between generating revenue for community development and addressing concerns raised by stakeholders. The town and village’s commitment to transparency and responsible utilization of funds will play a crucial role in shaping the long-term impact of the Skaneateles Occupancy Tax on its community and tourism industry.

For more detailed information on the new occupancy tax, you can refer to the official legislative documents for the village here and the town here. Owners/operators of properties affected by this article are responsible for understanding this information and registering their properties. Please contact the Town of Skaneateles or Village of Skaneateles for more information.

What do you think about the occupancy tax and how will impact the community? Let me know your thoughts!



Work With Us

Our Market Preparation & Home Staging can help set your home apart from the rest. Experience the difference and call us today.