Airbnb has been receiving legal grief for some time now about collecting taxes from hosts on the service. The main arguments against Airbnb are that people use the service as a loophole to set up illegal hotels and not have to pay taxes, and that hosts have an unfair advantage over competition from real hotel businesses. While Airbnb already began collecting taxes last year in the cities of San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon, they have announced that the practice will expand to several more cities over the next few weeks.
David Hantman, Airbnb’s Head of Global Public Policy, has just published a post on the site’s blog that explains San Jose, California and Amsterdam, Netherlands will begin seeing taxation starting this week. Two weeks later, starting on February 15th, Chicago and Washington D.C. will need to pay taxes as well.
Hantman continues to explain that Airbnb is trying to help its users as it learns more about how various tax policies apply to users. Thus far, the company has only been collecting taxes in individual locations, as opposed to everyone equally, because it isn’t always clear which taxes apply and to whom the money should go. “Over the past few years, Airbnb has been working with local lawmakers and regulators on ways that it can comply with local hotel tax and housing laws,” Hantman wrote.
It was noted that Airbnb has thus far collected $5 million from hosts in San Francisco and Portland. In addition to the new agreement made with Amsterdam, the company says it is making progress on a similar arrangement with the government of France.