Governments are watching passive income earners through new value-added tax measures.
Airbnb is among the companies that will be required to provide transaction details to UK authorities under new legislation aimed at combating tax evasion.
His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is targeting those who engage in “side hustles,” such as renting out rooms, and will require information including tax ID, bank account details, and transaction values.
The UK joined the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), leading to these new rules for online marketplace operators. Sellers with fewer than 30 transactions or earnings below €2,000 are exempt. The information will be shared with other OECD nations to ensure consistent visibility of income for digital platform sellers.
An HMRC spokesperson told BBC: “These new rules will support our work to help online sellers get their tax right first time. They will also help us detect any deliberate non-compliance, ensuring a level playing field for all taxpayers.”
This is not dissimilar to the European Union’s rule requiring websites including Airbnb to handle the collection of value-added tax (VAT) on behalf of their customers under the “VAT in Digital Age” program.
Viktorija Molnar, acting secretary general at the European Holiday Home Association, which advocates for the short-term rental industry in the European Union, told Skift in October last year that the change disrupts the VAT system, as it pulls private individuals and small businesses into the VAT framework, potentially raising prices on online platforms.
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Photo credit: A living room of a short-term rental in Lisbon, Portugal. Source: Airbnb.