The Real Deal New York

Airbnb to mayor: go ahead, tax our hosts

Company says levy would raise $21M annually -- money that could be used to help the needy

March 28, 2014 12:45PM

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Airbnb founders Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky

Airbnb’s Nathan Blecharczyk, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky

Airbnb is willing to shell out more than $21 million per year in taxes that the city could put toward homeless shelters. Currently, it’s unclear whether hosts are subject to New York’s lodging tax.

The website’s founders proposed in a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio this week that a clarification of the law governing hosts would ease the company’s collection of taxes from hosts.

They also noted that the estimated $21M that wouldd be raised from such a tax could be used to assist families who are leaving those shelters. A de Blasio spokesperson said the administration is closely reviewing the request. Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia – creators of the short-term, peer-to-peer apartment rental service – are in the process of raising a new round of financing at an estimated $10 billion valuation, as previously reported. They are each poised to become billionaires.

“We need help from you and other leaders in New York government to clarify and improve the tax laws now on the books so that we can legally collect and remit those taxes,” they said in the letter. [WSJ]Mark Maurer

9 Responses to “Airbnb to mayor: go ahead, tax our hosts”

  1. March 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm, Sh!t My Tenants Say said:

    Its great you want to pay NYS taxes w your ILLEGAL profits, but do you care about people/buildings safety AT ALL?

  2. March 28, 2014 at 1:56 pm, DanM said:

    Next they’ll suggest that people selling bootleg cigarettes pay tax…oh, wait, that’s why they are bootlegging them. Well, how about a tax on the numbers racket…oh, wait, that’s illegal too. Well what about taxing people who rent their cars without commercial registration or business insurance? Hmmm.

  3. March 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm, nycbkr333 said:


  4. March 28, 2014 at 4:16 pm, matteroftime said:

    I’m sure the renters will be the one’s paying the tax in the end anyway

    • March 31, 2014 at 4:47 pm, JoniJ said:

      If these rentals somehow become legal (though not sure how they would since most hosts are violating lease terms or building rules) and local gvmt decides to tax, who is ultimately paying the tax depends on so many factors. Not fair to assume that it will be passed on to renters.

  5. March 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm, Just a question said:

    Do the people that are renting there apartment on airbnb pay income tax ? Does airbnb report there income like on a 1099 Form ?

    • March 31, 2014 at 4:40 pm, livelocalNYC said:

      Yes, we get a 1099 at the end of the year. On a side note, I use AIRBNB as one of several means to legally rent my furnished apartments – (I have 2+ unit building so I rent w/ a 29 night minimum). I provide a great option to people in need of short term apts in NYC (locals renovating, locals w/ a lag between places, professionals relocating, family visiting, etc). I am set up as an LLC and pay taxes on profits at the end of the year. Most hosts, I would imagine, are doing this more casually (not as a legit business) but they can’t avoid the 1099 that AIRBNB automatically issues, and therefore they have to report the income.

  6. March 29, 2014 at 3:35 pm, Tj said:

    Airbnb keep your illegal profits out of NYC.
    WE DO NOT NEED OR WANT YOU HERE…Please stay out, your practice will NOT WORK HERE!
    Wipe those obnoxious grins off your face dudes.

  7. March 30, 2014 at 3:50 pm, nycbkr333 said:

    … can’t get the business valuation to make sense if they are guilty of promoting illegal activity…hmmmmm…

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