The Real Deal New York

Tax headaches hit AirBnB hosts

Newly-proposed hotel tax could tack additional 14.7 percent charge onto Airbnb rentals
April 15, 2014 03:20PM

Tax season is particularly vexing for freelancers — especially for the growing population of professional AirBnB landlords, according to a report.

Cash-strapped New Yorkers are increasingly turning out their apartments on the hospitality website as a main source of income — more than 8,000 city-dwellers were relying on income from AirBnB to pay housing costs as of the fall of 2013, according to a report released by the company that was reviewed by Vice.

The cash flow has been a stroke of luck for folks looking for extra cash, but hosts will have to fork over a percentage of their earnings by April 15, tax experts told Vice. How much hosts are required to pay can vary wildly according to state and metropolitan area, and an additional hotel tax looms in New York, where a proposed bill could have hosts charging renters an additional 14.7 percent as early as this summer, according to the New York Post.

Some who garner additional income via Airbnb are attempting to stem the impending cash hemorrhage by itemizing deductions, such as new furniture, appliances or other amenities that brighten the appeal of a space to tourists. But unless such fixtures are regularly used, such as air conditioning units, they don’t qualify for deductions, Vice reported. [Vice] and [NYP] — Angela Hunt

(Taxes photo from Shutterstock)

  • Poor SPONYs

    Why would they care? it’s free money regardless because it is other people’s real estate. The hosts are making all their rent back and probably don’t have to pay for all the heat and hot water used by the HOOKERS.

    • guest

      I agree. why on earth is no one discussing this issue in the press?
      As a property manager, I see my tenants renting their apartments out on a nightly basis not to mention the wear and tear, the amount of garbage that these nightly renters leave behind; the booze bottles, the shopping bags that don’t get broken down properly. It is a nightmare.
      I have attached new riders in all my leases to make sure that subletting or sharing of apartment, etc, must be approved by the landlord, in writing or face immediate eviction.

      • J says

        Booze bottles? Hookers? Gimme an fn break-sounds like normal tenant behavior not Air guests… As someone who has rented to over 100 guests over a 2year period, the biggest problem I’ve encountered is too much hair in the shower drain. But then again I’m renting to European tourists and not shady lowlifes.

        • not greedy just profitable

          What if a tenant becomes addicted to the host money for airbnb and hookers take turns using their profiles to rent the same apartment every weekend?

          That would be “over 100 guests over a 2year period.”

          This is just not a good idea. It’s going to blow up in everyone’s face and I don’t mean bed bugs.

          Something is going to go wrong and all these terrible news stories that are being dismissed will snowball into something bigger.

          There’s no oversight and when they do get caught, Airbnb makes a big show about lavishing hotel rooms on the victimized hosts who obviously have an appetite for luxury given the prices they are charging to do these poor tourists a favor and letting them experience a weekend in NY or SF that they otherwise couldn’t afford. How charitable.

          • J says

            There’s no oversight? What do you want, 24/7 surveillance on anyone who rents my place? You obviously don’t know stats very well. With over 17,000 reservations performed every day, that’s 6million+ a year. Someone was once a hooker? Boo hoo, I used to work at the Plaza and half the guests were turning tricks. We should shut them down.

          • even heartbleed hates airbnb

            the latest revelation came about because the massage customer slashed the hooker over a payment dispute and the cops showed up

            how many buildings lies in NYC have the cops showing up as a common occurrence? because that could totally happen.

            That article is an advertisment and instruction manual for criminals on how to privately use buildings all over Manhattan temporarily and without leaving a trace because Airbnb has successfully denied the AG’s attempts to get their records.


            We need a David Chiu in New York City government before it’s too late:


          • j says

            once again. your stats suck. the odds of this happening are 1 to 6million+.
            An instruction manual my ass… You obviously didn’t live in the city before internetz was born- a time when no one kept records on everyone in every single building. Such an asinine argument I won’t waste anymore energy.

        • delightful

          who cleans the drains? your landlord or you?

          • j says

            me- I’ve been blessed with two working hands. if its a heavy duty job- I call the super and tip him a 100 bucks. (More than he makes in 2 days probably)

          • Dangerfield/zone

            I doubt hosts would resist the urge to utilize their RIGHTS as tenants especially rent regulated ones to foist the repairs onto the landlord. This would affect coop and condo buildings as well because there are a lot of problems between owners who SRO their owned units and those who live in them in Chinatown condo buildings especially if utilities are included. Unlimited hot water means you will have a nonstop revolving door out of a particular apartment of “friends” and neighbors from back home all using that apartment’s facilities instead of their own.

            I want to know why there is a difference in when this misconduct takes place and affects fellow unit owners or private home owners and neighbors instead of in rent regulated buildings. Why is there such a huge difference in coverage and judgment where it’s the tenant’s right in a regulated situation but an offense otherwise.

            Because airbnb is definitely being reported in the same way. The coverage is harsh and critical upon landlords but not on profiteering tenants who host when those tenants don’t even have to pay property taxes which account for 38% of the tax revenue in NYC exceeding the contribution of even hotels.

  • cobblehillite

    i think the issue is that hotels pay taxes to the city for the right to set up a hotel business. Owners/renters who legally use air BnB should pay the same tax as they are using their homes/apts as hotels.