Airbnb – the tax position in Ireland

By | August 13, 2015

IRELAND: Be warned, Airbnb are legally obliged to give details of hosts income to the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland.
Airbnb had stated that income from renting rooms was NOT taxable under the “rent a room” tax relief scheme
The Irish Revenue’s position is that the “rent a room” relief scheme is not open to Airbnb hosts and relief is only available for people who let out a room on a permanent or semi-permanent residential basis, perhaps to a single person or student for six or nine months.
The B&B Owners Association (previously B&B Network) has never been asked by the Revenue to provide information on the income of it’s members.
Our advice stay well clear – Airbnb has gained a certain reputation in the countries it operates often with a disregard for established B&B businesses and the local regulations.

One thought on “Airbnb – the tax position in Ireland

  1. john

    The problems with Airbnb have started since they moved all European operations from the US to their new offices in Dublin. All European business is therefore based in Europe, and different rules apply. Sorry if this is a lengthy comment, but I’m sure some will find the information helpful.

    I have researched several aspects of this move, in particular the so-called ‘Rent-a-Room Relief’. Despite some of Revenue’s ambiguous statements (on their own website) regarding who qualifies for RaRR, there are other clear and specific statements of which B&B owners should be aware. They state that you don’t qualify for RaRR if you run a business which offers accommodation, or if you use an on-line platform to advertise your accommodation, or if you offer only ‘overnight accommodation’. If you do any of these, you don’t qualify for the relief, and it would appear to affect all B&B owners. It is my opinion, and always has been my opinion, that income from such sources is taxable. Please keep receipts and a record of any and all expenses, so that you can offset these against your income!

    I have also taken time to read Revenue’s own rules regarding disclosure of information in respect of businesses in Europe (again, on their own website). My understanding is that, whilst there is a requirement for websites or businesses such as Airbnb to disclose some information to Revenue, the level of disclosure is nowhere near that which Airbnb have provided. Some of this information is very personal, and some relates to individuals who are not directly connected with people who use Airbnb.

    I don’t know if you are aware of how much Airbnb charges for use of their on-line platform, and you may be surprised at the answer. I have used Airbnb’s information from the’FAQ’ section of their own website to calculate the following rates. They charge both a guest fee and a host fee, and the total amount varies between 10.38 and 17.75 percent of the total accommodation cost. I think that the higher figure in particular is quite excessive.

    A portion of these charges relates to the amount of VAT they apply, which brings me to my next point.I have asked Airbnb on many occasions why they charge 23 percent VAT, when all tourism and hospitality in Ireland is subject to a rate of only 9 percent. They have failed to provide me with an answer thus far.

    I also wonder if the very cheap rates of Corporation Tax in Ireland have anything to do with Airbnb moving to Dublin? I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

    Whilst I have been listed on Airbnb since 2013, I never achieved even a reasonable level of business with them. It’s not a big deal for me to have my details sent to Revenue, but it’s the way in which it was done that annoys me. I know from the media that many other hosts are also annoyed and have ‘de-listed’ their accommodation, and so no longer appear on Airbnb. I have kept my listing open, but increased my accommodation rates with them by a very substantial margin. Even if no-one books through them, my B&B is still advertised for free. I hope that any potential guest with any sense will see the obviously high cost, and look for me on an alternative website where they can book at a cheaper rate. I suggest that others who are annoyed at Airbnb’s behaviour do the same thing.


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