Airbnb got more expensive in San Francisco on Monday when the company decided to start collecting a hotel levy from its guests. The move will charge people who stay at San Francisco Airbnbs an extra 14 percent tax and, more importantly, may signal Airbnb’s willingness to be treated as a hotelier, at least on paper.
The fast-growing business, which allows people to rent out all or part of their homes to short-term renters, has spent much of its young life fending off accusations from the hotel industry that it is avoiding taxes.
“We have repeatedly said that we believe our community in San Francisco should pay its fair share of taxes,” wrote David Hantman, the company’s head of lobbying, in a news release. “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.”
Last week the company agreed to charge a hotel tax in Portland as part of its Shared City initiative. The company said it hopes to start charging the tax in San Francisco this summer.
Adding a levy onto a consumer’s bill to assuage the city’s concern over Airbnb may involve some regulatory leaps, but the company faces thornier legal questions. Earlier in 2014 UrbanTurf looked into regulatory issues in DC specifically, where hosts may not realize that regulations apply to using the service. We found that many hosts were offering space in condos or co-ops where short-term rentals aren’t allowed, and that DCRA requires lots of paperwork before a host can become a fully legal bed-and-breakfast operator.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/airbnb_starts_collecting_hotel_tax_in_san_francisco/8306
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