SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Airbnb has announced it plans to collect occupancy taxes in San Francisco beginning October 1.
In a blog post Wednesday, David Owen, Regional Head of Public Policy said "this is the culmination of a long process that began earlier this year when we announced our intent to help collect and remit occupancy taxes in San Francisco. Our community members in San Francisco have told us they want to pay their fair share and the overwhelming majority have asked us to help," Owen wrote. "In the past, it's been difficult for individual hosts to pay taxes that were designed for traditional hotels that operate year round. This has been a complicated issue and we're happy to be taking action to help simplify the collection process for hosts, guests and for the City."
Airbnb said starting October 1, guests will see a new line item on their Airbnb receipt for the city-imposed Transient Occupancy Tax. The tax will be added to the total amount paid by guests on stays of fewer than 30 days – hosts will not have to do anything extra. Those taxes will be remitted to the City by Airbnb on behalf of hosts.
Owen writes "we think it's the right thing to do in San Francisco and we're proud to be moving forward. We look forward to a continued dialogue on this issue with our entire community in the future. We know home sharing and our community of hosts make cities stronger and more vibrant and we want to work with leaders around the world to ensure the sharing economy continues to thrive."
The home sharing company launched a similar program in Portland, Oregon earlier this year.
The 14 percent hotel tax from visitors could net millions a year for San Francisco.
This all comes as San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu has proposed legislation to regulate Airbnb. He said currently, "the laws are being broken every single day" and that San Francisco needs to take "a different approach, as the current system is not working." Chiu's proposal would regulate how, where and when housing shares are okay and also cap vacation rentals of entire homes.
A study by the San Francisco Chronicle found Airbnb had almost 4,800 San Francisco listings, with about two-thirds of those entire homes.
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