Airbnb Paying Taxes in 275 Jurisdictions Worldwide

Daily Tax Report: State provides authoritative coverage of state and local tax developments across the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, tracking legislative and regulatory updates,...

By Joyce E. Cutler

Airbnb Inc. will have signed tax agreements with 275 global jurisdictions, by May 1, including 250 in the U.S., as the rental-sharing platform litigates over local laws.

Airbnb by May 1 will have remitted $240 million in taxes while it continues to work with organizations, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the platform said. More than half of Airbnb’s listings will be in communities where it collects and remits taxes, “and we are actively working to expand this program.”

“By collecting and remitting hotel and similar taxes, Airbnb ensures a streamlined process for our host community and lightens the administrative burden for state and local governments,” Airbnb said in a April 12 blog post.

Airbnb is inking agreements while filing lawsuits against regulations from Miami to its hometown of San Francisco as jurisdictions grapple with sharing economies colliding with traditional regulation methods. The platform likewise is being sued by landlords, including Apartment Investment & Management Co., alleging Airbnb is assisting tenants in violating lease subletting prohibitions.

Airbnb representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

San Francisco Amendments, Lawsuit

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (D) on April 14 signed the most recent amendments to the city’s short-term rental law in part to address issues raised in an Airbnb and HomeAway Inc. lawsuit challenging the registration scheme ( Airbnb, Inc. v. San Francisco, N.D. Cal., No. 3:16-cv-03615, settlement conference 4/12/17 ).

A platform that complies with the San Francisco Office of Short-Term Residential Rental Administration and Enforcement’s administrative guidelines is “deemed to have exercised reasonable care” to confirm units are lawfully registered, the amended ordinance said.

The San Francisco lawsuit is stayed until April 27 per the parties’ stipulation.

Agreements, Lawsuits

Sarasota, Miami-Dade and Broward counties, all in Florida, earlier this month approved measures for Airbnb to collect and remit tourist taxes for thousands of properties.

The Florida agreements come as the platform on April 14 sued Miami over its registration scheme ( Airbnb, Inc. v. City of Miami, Fla. Cir. Ct., No. 2017-0089999-ca-01, summons issued 4/17/17 ).

The Sunshine State litigation and regulation may be moot. The Florida Legislature is also considering bills ( S.B. 188 and H.B. 425) that would limit or bar cities and counties from banning Airbnb-type rentals.

Lawsuits also pending in Chicago and Santa Monica, Calif., claim the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. 230, and First Amendment preempts laws that impinge or ban the business model.

Landlords Suing Platform

Property owners likewise are suing Airbnb. Apartment Investment & Management Co., a large apartment owner and operator, in February sued Airbnb in Florida and California state courts over tenants allegedly using the platform to breach leases prohibiting subletting ( Bay Parc Plaza Apartments, L.P. v. Airbnb, Inc. , Fla. Cir. Ct., No. 017-003624-CA-01, notice of appearance 3/29/17 ; La Park La Brea A LLC v. Airbnb, Inc. , Cal. Super. Ct., No. BC650575, complaint 2/14/17 ).

Airbnb renters are trespassers with unvetted personal histories and no vested interest in maintaining a peaceful community atmosphere, the Denver-based realty company said in a statement announcing the filings.

With assistance from Chris Marr in Atlanta

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at JCutler@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan C. Tuck at rtuck@bna.com

For More Information

Text of the April 12 blog post is at https://www.airbnbcitizen.com/airbnb-tax-facts/.

Copyright © 2017 Tax Management Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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