Tax revenue State garners $5.2M from Airbnb

August 8, 2018

Online home-sharing giant Airbnb announced Wednesday it had generated $5.2 million in tax revenues for Connecticut since forging a tax agreement with the state two years ago.

The returns since the tax pact was enacted in July 2016 show that the firm is boosting the state’s coffers and benefiting hosts as well as surrounding retailers and restaurants frequented by Airbnb guests, company officials said. But Airbnb’s growth has also sparked complaints from neighbors of host properties and created regulatory challenges for local officials.

“We are proud to have reached a tax agreement with Connecticut and are glad to see our partnership generate such a significant and vital revenue stream for the state,” Josh Meltzer, for Airbnb’s head of Northeast Public Policy, said in a statement. “We hope this will serve as yet another clear example of the economic potential of short-term rentals around the world.”

Under Airbnb’s tax agreement, the company automatically collects and remits Connecticut’s 15 percent room occupancy tax on behalf of its hosts.

As of July 1, there were 3,600 active Airbnb hosts across Connecticut, taking in about 140,000 guests during the past year, according to company data. The typical Connecticut host made $6,700 per year by operating approximately three days per month.

Some 60 percent of Connecticut hosts are women, and 25 percent are senior citizens.

Airbnb’s agreement with Connecticut comprises one of more than 400 tax partnerships the company said it has put in place around the world. Those pacts generate more than $500 million to support public services, according to the company.

At the same time, local officials in cities such as Stamford have grappled with regulating the business.

In response to complaints about reported disturbances at a number of Airbnb rentals, Stamford’s Board of Representatives has debated whether the city should adopt new lodging rules for residences. The legislative body voted last year to study the issue.

Stamford zoning regulations allow a homeowner to rent a single-family residence to a family or up to four unrelated adults, as long as it is not divided into apartments, according to the city’s Land Use Bureau. A homeowner who occupies the residence can take in up to two boarders, provided there are no separate apartments. The city’s regulations do not set a limit on the length of a rental.

Last month, New York City Council members voted to mandate that Airbnb disclose the names and addresses of its hosts in the city. Officials said they needed the information to regulate Airbnb hosts who are in business illegally and push up neighborhood rents. Airbnb countered that the bill would violate users’ privacy.

San Francisco-based Airbnb was founded in 2008 and operates across several million locations in nearly 200 countries.

Includes previous reporting from Angela Carella.

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