Airbnb announced on its blog a few days ago that it will start collecting San Francisco’s 14 percent hotel tax on behalf of landlords.
This moves the company one step closer to compliance and is likely to begin silencing critics, mostly in the hotel industry, who claim that they are unfairly dodging the taxes that they should be paying.
The move comes at a time when Airbnb has a reported $10 billion valuation, which means its now time for the company to play by the rules.
David Hantman, Airbnb’s Head of Global Public Policy, wrote:
“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.”
Like San Francisco, New Orleans has a tax on landlord’s who rent other people living space for less than 30 days (60 in the French Quarter). The taxes are set up as per-room taxes and yearly licensing fees.
New Orleans’ levies a 13 cent tax on rooms sold, which in 2012 generated approximately $78 million for the city.
If Airbnb starts collecting in NOLA, estimates put the revenue for city coffers in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, money that would go towards the Superdome Commission, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and the state general fund.
The question is – will the additional tax curb interest in Airbnb rentals in New Orleans? What do you think?