A Fair Share: $10 million initiative to demonstrate tax revenue home sharing can generate and support New Yorkers

Airbnb today launched a $10 million initiative with seven community-based service providers across New York State. Along with supporting these organizations as they serve New Yorkers statewide, this initiative is replicating the tax revenue the Airbnb platform could generate for New York State in just over one month if it were given the ability to collect local hotel and tourist taxes on behalf of its nearly 60,000 hosts and 3 million guests statewide.

The initiative is modeled on the projected tax revenue that Airbnb would generate if it was permitted by State and City government to collect taxes on behalf of hosts of non-hotel accommodations in New York — a total of $100 million annually. This $10 million initiative represents what Airbnb projects would be collected and remitted to the State and City over just over one month, based on company revenue in prior years.

Today, 60 percent of all hosts in the United States share their homes in communities  where Airbnb is permitted to collect and remit local taxes — including, but not limited to, the states of Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, and Washington State and the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Cleveland. Municipalities have used this tax revenue to support a wide variety of public priorities, such as homelessness and affordable housing.

While New Yorkers wait for State and City government to take this step forward, Airbnb is taking action today to ensure these seven organizations — which benefit from State and City tax dollars — receive the funding they need to shelter homeless women and children; provide public school children access to computer science education; offer legal services to immigrant families, especially at this critical moment; and much more:

  • The New York Immigration Coalition: advocacy organization that represents over 200 immigrant and refugee rights groups throughout New York.
  •  New York Mortgage Coalition: a nonprofit collaboration of financial institutions and community housing agencies focused on expanding the opportunity for responsible and sustainable homeownership to minority, and low and moderate income individuals and families in the five boroughs of New York City, as well as surrounding counties.
  •  New York State Rural Housing Coalition: a network of rural housing professionals who work toward a common goal: to design, develop, finance, build and manage affordable housing to meet the diverse needs of rural New Yorkers Members share their knowledge and expertise to attain this goal.
  • Women In Need (Win): providing safe housing, critical services, and ground-breaking programs to help homeless women and their children rebuild their lives.
  •  Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC): the world’s first and leading provider of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy.
  •  Computer Science NYC (CSNYC): working to ensure that all of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students have access to a high-quality computer science education that puts them on a pathway to college and career success.
  • Abyssinian Development Corporation: providing resources and services that empower Harlem residents to realize their goals and dreams.

“This gift will, in a significant way, improve the lives of our most vulnerable,” said Christine C. Quinn, President and CEO of Win. “Win will use every dollar to provide the tools and support necessary to help homeless women and children move to self sufficiency and break the cycle of homelessness once and for all. Make no mistake, this isn’t a small statement of support, it’s substantial, it’s impactful, and it will help people rebuild lives. I couldn’t be more grateful for the decision of Airbnb to make this investment in the future of every woman and child in a Win shelter.”

“Over the past thirty years, The Abyssinian Development Corporation has had a hand in generating $1 billion in faith-based affordable housing and economic stimulation in the Harlem community and beyond. We remain firmly committed to the same mission we started over a quarter century ago, to keep families together, the Harlem family,” said Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, Board Chair of Abyssinian Development Corporation. “This commitment from Airbnb will support expansion of our Harlem Economic Literacy Program, including creation of a matching grant program for low/moderate income homebuyers and sustaining existing homeowners.”

“For nearly four decades, the New York State Rural Housing Coalition, our members and our partners have worked tirelessly to improve opportunities and the standard of living for our neighbors throughout rural New York. This generous gift recognizes the effectiveness of our efforts and allows us to expand our reach and services as we carry out our mission to achieve sustainable rural housing solutions,” said Colin McKnight, acting executive director of the New York State Rural Housing Coalition. “We are extremely grateful for the confidence this gift symbolizes, and excited to create even greater opportunities to help the people and organizations that count on us.”

“GMHC serves more than 13,000 New Yorkers each year with a suite of comprehensive services designed to keep them healthy, whether they’re HIV positive or HIV negative, and keep them connected to a caring community of support,” said Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMHC. “We’re grateful to Airbnb for recognizing the tremendous importance of the work we do and the services our clients need. We hope to continue working with Airbnb in the future to help end the AIDS epidemic in New York City, New York State, and beyond.”

There are nearly 59,000 Airbnb hosts in New York, who welcomed 2.9 million guests. From simply sharing their space, the typical Airbnb host brought home more than $6,700 per year in supplemental income in 2017, which many used to weather economic downturn, provide for their children’s education, save for retirement — and most importantly, keep a home that they love.

69 percent of New York Airbnb hosts say that they used the money they earn from home sharing to stay in their home.

Home sharing has also provided a major boost to local businesses in communities statewide — including those who have not benefited from traditional tourism. 95 percent of Airbnb hosts recommend local small businesses to their guests. This helped to generate $1.3 billion in direct neighborhood spending by Airbnb guests in New York in 2016 alone.

Airbnb has supported legislation in Albany that would allow Airbnb to remit $100 million in tax revenue annually. Under A-7520/S-7182 — a bipartisan bill that was introduced by Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) and State Senator John Bonacic (R/C/I-Mt. Hope) — Airbnb will be able to collect a number of taxes on behalf of hosts of non-hotel accommodations, including: State sales tax (4-4.375 percent), City sales tax (4.5 percent) and municipal sales taxes (3-4.75 percent), the New York City Hotel Room Occupancy Tax (5.875 percent, plus $0.50-$2.00 per room per night) and the New York State Hotel Unit Fee of $1.50 per unit per night within New York City.These are the exact same taxes paid by hotel guests across New York. When an Airbnb guest books a trip to New York, these local taxes would be automatically charged and collected at booking, and then remitted to the appropriate tax authorities.

In addition, this legislation will modernize existing laws to ensure responsible New Yorkers can continue to earn extra income by opening their doors to guests.

Airbnb is already collecting and remitting applicable hotel and tourist taxes in over 400 jurisdictions around the world, including 23 counties across New York State. Through these existing agreements in New York, Airbnb has remitted over $1.7 million in hotel and motel room taxes since reaching its first agreement with Tompkins County in July 2016. Airbnb remitted over $1 million in hotel and motel room tax revenue to these counties in 2017 alone.