Skift Take

So begins a year of collecting lodging taxes by Airbnb: Portland, New York City, San Francisco. Will it follow suit in its international cities as well later in the year?

2014 is the year of settlements for Airbnb, and going from disruption to collaboration, as we predicted it would do at the start of this year.

So following its offer last week to collect and pay $21 million in taxes in New York City (and a smaller initiative in Portland), it is now following that up with a similar offer in its home city of San Francisco, according to a blog post on its site today by David Hantman, Airbnb’s Head of Global Public Policy.

Today, I held a question and answer session with hosts from San Francisco…announced that we’ll soon be collecting and remitting taxes on behalf of our hosts in San Francisco as well.

We have repeatedly said that we believe our community in San Francisco should pay its fair share of taxes. We know from countless discussions with our hosts that they want to pay taxes, but some of these rules are arcane and difficult to follow. Some hosts have even tried to pay taxes in San Francisco and been turned away.

We want to help solve this problem. We’re still working on some operational details, but our goal is to launch this program for San Francisco hosts this summer.

It says it doesn’t agree with the definition of its hosts as hotels, but wants to follow the local rules on taxes anyway. Which is certainly as cooperative as Airbnb has ever been in its existence.

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.

San Francisco charges 14% occupancy tax to hotels, and likely that is what the extra cost for each night will be for people wanting to stay in an Airbnb in San Francisco, soon.

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Tags: airbnb, san francisco, sharing economy

Photo credit: Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb. LeWEB12 / Flickr

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