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HB 166 defines consumer requirements for peer-to-peer rentals, addressing insurance, pricing disclosures and safety recalls, as well as confirms that peer-to-peer providers are categorized as "vendors" for tax purposes.
House Majority Leader Bill Seitz and Senate Finance Committee Chair Matt Dolan spearheaded the legislation with the Ohio Department of Taxation, the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII), Ohio’s major airports, the U.S. car rental industry, and peer-to-peer companies.
According to a press announcement from Enterprise Holdings, the legislation “… unambiguously takes the onus of collecting or remitting taxes off individuals renting their vehicles on peer-to-peer platforms – dispelling a myth often perpetuated by peer-to-peer companies about the double-taxation of vehicle owners.”
"My objective in working through this issue was two-fold," said Rep. Seitz in the press announcement. "To establish clear standards for insurance coverage in these three-party transactions, and to ensure all peer-to-peer platforms that receive the end customer's money are paying applicable state taxes as the facilitating vendor."
The announcement states that the new Ohio law also provides a step toward compliance with 1989 National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) regulations requiring fair, honest and uniform consumer pricing and advertising standards in the car rental industry.
In addition, HB 166 authorizes Ohio airports to regulate peer-to-peer rental programs in a similar manner to other car rental operations. To that end, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority sent a letter in support of the legislation for protecting airports' "authority to individually determine reasonable standards, regulations, etc. for peer-to-peer car sharing companies…"
In total, at least 19 U.S. airports have issued cease-and-desist orders concerning peer-to-peer operations. Plus, legal action has been taken in conjunction with several airports across the country, including Tampa International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Massport (Logan International Airport) and San Francisco International Airport.
"This effort is all about parity and fairness, in Ohio and every other state. It just doesn't make sense for one section of this industry to benefit from loopholes and special carve-outs," said Ray Wagner, Enterprise Holdings' Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs, in the announcement. "Enterprise welcomes each and every competitor into the industry because, at the end of the day, we're all in the business of renting vehicles – whether it's for an hour, a day, a week or longer."
Wagner noted that states already have well-established regulations governing car rental taxes and fees – not to mention consumer protections around disclosures and sale of ancillary products: "Just like in Ohio, all peer-to-peer operators nationwide should be required to comply with longstanding and state-specific regulations that govern car rental transactions."
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