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Airbnb: $1B in Hotel & Tourism Taxes Collected; AHLA Responds

SAN FRANCISCO—Airbnb has partnered with more than 400 governments around the world to collect and remit hotel and tourist taxes (TOT). According to Airbnb, it has collected and remitted more than $1 billion in TOT taxes to date.

Airbnb revealed that since a voluntary collection agreement was established with Los Angeles in August 2016, more than $100 million has been collected and remitted to the city.

In Pennsylvania, where it’s collected and remitted $21.2 million, this year marked the three-year anniversary of a collection agreement and up the coast in Maine, after a year of collection, Airbnb remitted $5.3 million earlier this spring. And in 27 counties across New York—nearly half of the state—Airbnb has collected and remitted $2.7 million in tax revenue.

Airbnb recently revealed that on the year anniversary of a tax agreement with Iowa, it has delivered $900,000 in home sharing tax revenue on behalf of its host community in the state. And in Connecticut and Vermont, states in which Airbnb has been collecting and remitting taxes for more than two years, $5.2 million and $7.8 million respectively has gone to the states’ general funds.

However, this has raised some speculation from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

“Airbnb’s small tax revenue amount raises serious questions if they are paying their fair share of taxes as they have been making back-room deals and strong-arming state and local jurisdictions into ‘voluntary’ tax agreements with no transparency, oversight or auditing capability to ensure the company pays its proper share of taxes,” said Troy Flanagan, VP of government affairs and industry relations for AHLA.

“If Airbnb’s math is correct, it pales in comparison to the more than $1 trillion in taxes and nearly $10 trillion in support to the U.S. economy that the hotel industry has contributed across the country since Airbnb’s inception in 2008,”Flanagan added.

According to Airbnb, it also collects and remits tourist taxes in communities across Europe, including Amsterdam, Dortmund, Florence, Lisbon and Milan. And earlier this year, it began collecting and remitting these taxes in 23,000 cities across France.

In addition to TOT taxes, Airbnb unveiled a new project related to host income tax in Denmark. And in Estonia, hosts can now automatically report their host earnings to the tax authority via its platform, according to the company.

“According to a recent Morning Consult Survey, 90% of their users would have stayed at another regulated and taxed lodging option, so they really aren’t generating any new tax revenue or much economic growth,” Flanagan said. “Since participation in their voluntary tax agreement has been as low as 30% in some jurisdictions, many cities are likely losing tax revenue with Airbnb.”

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