San Francisco, taxes and the Airbnb community

When we announced our “Shared City” initiative last week, we received an incredible outpouring of support and interest from our community, the press, and governments around the world.  We are very excited about the response, and we want to keep striving to ensure that our community continues to help cities around the world.

Part of our first Shared City partnership with Portland will be to collect and remit occupancy taxes on behalf of our hosts there. Today, I held a question and answer session with hosts from San Francisco to talk about the Shared City initiative and announced that we’ll soon be collecting and remitting taxes on behalf of our hosts in San Francisco as well.

We have repeatedly said that we believe our community in San Francisco should pay its fair share of taxes. We know from countless discussions with our hosts that they want to pay taxes, but some of these rules are arcane and difficult to follow. Some hosts have even tried to pay taxes in San Francisco and been turned away.

We want to help solve this problem. We’re still working on some operational details, but our goal is to launch this program for San Francisco hosts this summer.

Of course, we don’t always agree with governments about what sales and occupancy taxes are owed under the law, if any. Our hosts are not hotels, and most of these tax laws were not designed for them. But whether or not we agree with the tax laws, we want to help our hosts follow the rules. It’s good for the government officials who won’t have to identify hosts and collect the taxes themselves: we’ll do the work for them. And it’s good for hosts who want to pay their fair share.

We are a growing company in a new economy. We are taking this action—and initiating our entire Shared City program—as we strive to help make cities stronger, safer, more financially stable. And we’re excited to continue this pilot program in San Francisco. This city is our home and we look forward to continuing to work with everyone here to make it an even better place to live, work and visit.