Nowhere to hide for Airbnb hosts as Revenue tightens the tax net

Landlords who want to rent properties on Airbnb are now required to submit their personal tax information to the global home-sharing platform, as Revenue steps up its oversight of the business.

While the hosting portal has been sharing income information of Irish hosts with Revenue for a few years, a recent change in law in Ireland means that Airbnb now also asks hosts for their PPS (Personal Public Service) numbers, as well as the Local property ID of the property being rented.

Airbnb says “this information will be shared in addition to the information we are already required to provide to Irish tax authorities regarding your income.”

The new rules apply to all hosts who are Irish tax residents and to anyone registered in the Republic.

“Hosts want to pay their fair share of tax and we want to help,” said an Airbnb spokesperson. “That’s why we offer a range of host support services, from a free independent tax guide to tax filing support tools. We have now updated the platform to allow Hosts to share their taxpayer information in accordance with updated Irish tax reporting rules. “

This decision follows an amendment to the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 in 2019, which states that any person “who, as an agent, manages premises or receives rents or other payments for premises” must now provide to both its PPS number, as well as the local property ID of the rented property.

Annual return

Although the changes took effect in 2020, data will not be released until Airbnb files its annual report for 2020 with Revenue, which will take place in the third quarter of this year. That’s why Airbnb is asking for the information now.

It is not known what could happen if a host refuses to provide this information. Airbnb did not answer this question.

The condominium portal has been hit by the pandemic, with the most recent figures showing that the revenues of Airbnb’s main Irish subsidiary have halved in the first nine months of 2020, due to the Covid-19 crisis .

In its early days in Ireland, landlords flocked to the portal to rent out rooms or entire properties, believing that this income would be tax-exempt up to the limit applied to the room rental system. This allows you to earn up to € 14,000 per year without having to pay tax.

However, Revenue subsequently clamped down on this, a view that was confirmed in the 2018 Finance Law. It states that the room rental relief does not apply to short-term guests, such as those who book through online accommodation sites.

Each September, Airbnb submits to Revenue a report detailing all rental income earned by Irish resident hosts from Irish and overseas accommodation, as well as all rental income earned by non-Irish resident hosts from Irish accommodation.

The tax on rental income earned on the site can reach 52%, with some deductions allowed, such as commissions, cleaning, etc.

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