The cost of Airbnb accommodations in San Francisco, New York and Portland, Ore., seems likely to increase, thanks to new tax collection.
Officials at the website, which matches travelers with homeowners wanting to rent out overnight accommodation, have announced plans to stay a step ahead of potential regulation by collecting taxes in the three cities.
In San Francisco, where Airbnb got its start and has a wealth of options from simple sofas to plush bedrooms, the hotel tax is 14%.
"I've been pushing Airbnb to pay the transient-occupancy tax at the full rate," Board of Supervisors President David Chiu told the San Francisco Chronicle in a story published Tuesday.
Last week, travel news site Skift reported that Airbnb would begin collecting hotel tax in New York City. State and local governments assess a combined 9%, plus $1.50 a day.
Skift noted that Airbnb was “in the midst of a fight with the New York state attorney general” over taxation.
A similar deal is also in the works in Portland, according to a March 26 story in the Oregonian. Airbnb is in the process of moving its corporate headquarters to Portland from San Francisco.
“We believe there needs to be a level playing field," said John Ballesteros, vice president of public policy at the nonprofit San Francisco Travel Assn. "Any tax that is levied on a hotel needs to be assessed on Airbnb.”
But in a post Tuesday on TravelMole, David Hantman of Airbnb was quoted as saying, "Our hosts are not hotels, and most of these tax laws were not designed for them. But whether or not we agree with the tax laws, we want to help our hosts follow the rules."
Airbnb declined requests for further comment.
Ballesteros said he would like even stricter government regulation of companies such as Airbnb.
“There are a whole slew of issues related to safety and security,” he said, noting that such properties do not have to meet the same building and fire codes as hotels.
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