Airbnb to mayor: go ahead, tax our hosts

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

TRD New York /
Mar.March 28, 2014 12:45 PM

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

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