Airbnb wishes to negotiate tourist tax agreements with 700 cities
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    Airbnb wishes to negotiate tourist tax agreements with 700 cities

    © Belga
    Airbnb plans to rachet up the number of tourist tax agreements with global cities at supersonic speed.
    © Belga

    The rental accommodation website, Airbnb, is hoping to conclude tax agreements with 700 cities and large towns, so as to limit the potential risks of tax policy changes, which could work against it. This was indicated today (Monday) by its owner, Brian Chesky, giving an interview in the Financial Times.

    He explained that the company has already signed agreements with 200 such locations and wishes to strike deals with a further 500 by 2018.

    The cities and large towns targeted make up 90% of the platform’s activity.

    “When you have a tax agreement in place, you have an explicit agreement, and there is no existential risk.”

    In France, its second largest market after the US, Airbnb implemented the automatic collection of tourist tax for those using the service in Paris and Chamonix in 2015.

    Since then it has extended this procedure to other large towns and cities.

    Abroad, the same practice has been used in cities such as Amsterdam, Portland and San Francisco.

    The platform is on the radar of a multitude of agglomerations throughout the world, which are often targeted by the tourist industry.

    The industry as a whole considers that the consequences of these online accommodation sites, which are not subject to the same legal and fiscal constraints as other businesses, have resulted in lost revenue for it.

    For example, this is the case in Belgium where the Brussels and Flemish hotel and catering sectors demanded, last April, that the same rules applied across the board, with equal impact upon their sectors and the likes of Airbnb.

    The federal government took a policy decision to apply different tax treatment for online platforms. They differentiated between occasional room or dwelling hire, and organisations generating significant long-term revenue.

    The pretext given for this was that hiring a room is not normally categorised, for tax purposes, as miscellaneous income but tends to be specifically property-based income.

    Last year, a total of 454,000 customers are thought to have used Airbnb to find accommodation in Belgium.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times