Everyday around the world, we are having conversations with policy makers and local authorities about how we can make it easier for regular people who share their homes to follow the rules and pay their fair share. More and more cities are acknowledging the tremendous economic, social and environmental benefits our community brings. We want to work together with them to ensure the rules for home sharing are modern, clear and simple to follow so home sharing can continue to thrive.
In some cities we have done this is by working with governments to simplify the tourist tax responsibilities that hosts may have – a complex tax that varies from city to city. It was designed for traditional hospitality providers who, in contrast to our hosts, would typically have lawyers and accountants to advise them. In Amsterdam, for example, we entered into an agreement with the City of Amsterdam’s Tax Office and have been collecting and remitting tourist tax on behalf of hosts in Amsterdam since 1 February 2015. The partnership is going well and we are currently exploring a similar initiative in France. As well as collecting and remitting these taxes in Amsterdam, we have similar programs in the U.S., including Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Washington D.C., Chicago, Malibu and North Carolina.
Negotiations on these issues are complex and take time, but we don’t believe you should have to hire a tax lawyer to share your home and we’ll do all we can to simplify these processes for our community of hosts – regular people who share their homes and rely on this income to make ends meet.
As well as simplifying the payment of tourist tax, we also provide information to our community in Europe about their obligations to declare and pay tax on their income, where applicable. While only hosts themselves can understand their own personal income circumstances and responsibilities, we understand that it can be daunting and confusing process for regular people to follow and have therefore taken a number of proactive steps to support our community.
Here are some of the steps we have taken to support our community on this issue:
- All new hosts are reminded to check local laws – including tax laws – before they list their space. Before they list, they must certify that they have checked and will adhere to these rules.
- Our website features responsible hosting pages that link to important information on tax rules and regulations. In Amsterdam, for example, we link directly to information and guidance provided by the City of Amsterdam’s Tax Office.
- All hosts can download their transaction history at any point, which can help with tax planning.
- We send regular email updates to our community reminding them to check and follow their local rules. During the various tax seasons around Europe, we also remind hosts to check their transaction histories and take appropriate steps in their personal tax declarations.
Few companies around the world like talking about tax – and even fewer dedicate so much time and effort to working with tax authorities around the world to ensure it’s as easy as possible to pay taxes correctly. But at Airbnb, we want to lead our industry on this matter and ensure governments receive these resources.
The majority of Airbnb hosts are regular people who occasionally share the home in which they live. They are not businesses, tax lawyers or accountants. They want to pay their fair share but rely on clear guidance and simple processes that are easy to follow.
Recently, more governments have taken steps to play their part – with the United Kingdom and Australia both working to make official information about taxes clearer and simpler for hosts. We are grateful for this and will continue to look for ways that we can support our community. We welcome the input from authorities across Europe on how we can work together to make tax simple for everyone.