Airbnb to tell the Revenue about earnings by Irish people using service
Airbnb is to tell the Revenue Commissioners about earnings received by Irish people using its service to rent to holidaymakers.
The online company said it is informing those who rent out rooms or properties that there is a legal requirement for Airbnb Ireland to report host earnings to the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.
Earlier this year it was warned that people using Airbnb to rent a room or a property could face a tax bill, with one tax specialist cautioning people to declare the rental income for tax purposes.
An Airbnb statement said: "The reporting requirement exists because on 1 May 2014, Ireland became Airbnb’s home base for all transactions outside the United States.
“There will be an ongoing obligation as part of our annual corporate filing obligations in Ireland, the first of which we will be filing in September.
“Over the past few months, we have been working with Revenue Commissioners to understand how this requirement applies to Airbnb and our community.
“Now that we have clarity, we want to let our community know and address any questions they may have."
The Revenue Commissioners said in a statement that it was aware of the provision of rooms by Irish householders through online accommodation sites, such as Airbnb
“Income derived from such activity is subject to tax and the amount of taxable income is computed and charged to tax in the normal manner,” a spokeswoman said.
Revenue said its Rent-a-Room Relief applies where a room or rooms are being rented on a long-term basis as a home.
“Income from the provision of accommodation to occasional visitors for short periods would not qualify for rent-a-room relief as the visitors use the accommodation as guest accommodation rather than for residential purposes,” the Revenue spokeswoman said.
But Revenue added that as long as the provision of guest house accommodation was "occasional in nature", expenses such as the cost of providing meals, light, heat or laundering costs, would be allowed to be deducted in calculating the taxable profits.
“It’s important to point out that the provision of short term lettings in itself is not evidence of tax evasion. There's no issue where the income is declared to Revenue and any tax due is paid. However, where there are irregularities in a taxpayer’s tax affairs, there are significant advantages to approaching Revenue early with regard to regularising matters,” Revenue added.