Monday 22 October 2018

Revenue mounts AirBnB crackdown on homeowners renting properties

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Paul Melia

Paul Melia

THE Revenue Commissioners is to mount a crackdown on homeowners renting their properties on AirBnB.

Tax authorities are writing to 12,000 homeowners to "remind" them that rental income must be included on their tax returns, and will follow-up with compliance checks.

The move comes after AirBnB provided details of payments made to its customers in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

It comes amid mounting concern about the impact that short-term lettings are having on the rental market. Hundreds of properties in high-demand areas of Dublin and other cities have been removed from rental stock, as the returns from short-term lettings are far more lucrative.

"A key element of Revenue’s role is proactively assisting taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations and we continually achieve this through a number of initiatives," the Revenue Commissioners said in a statement.

"As required under the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, Airbnb has provided details of payments made to its customers in 2014, 2015 and 2016 for the provision of short-term accommodation.

"To assist taxpayers in meeting their obligations, Revenue is writing to in the region of 12,000 people, as reminder to include this income on their tax returns. The letters will also provide guidance on the correct tax treatment of this income and give details on how to correct returns already made, where necessary."

Information has been published on its website to help homeowners comply with their tax obligations, and Revenue said it would mount compliance checks.

"It is standard Revenue practice to constantly monitor new and emerging risk," it said.

"Revenue is alert to the risks posed by online business in all its forms, including the provision of short-term accommodation. To maximise compliance among recipients of income from the provision of short-term accommodation, Revenue will also carry out a range of follow-up compliance checks to ensure that returns are filed and are correct."

Revenue from short-term lettings does not qualify for tax relief under the Rent a Room scheme.

Revenue said there were “significant advantages” for customers filing correct returns, as they could avail of reduced penalties, and avoid possible prosecution or having their name published on the list of tax defaulters.

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