Airbnb agrees to tourism minister’s tax announcement

Airbnb, the home-sharing application, welcomed the announcement by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz to impose tax on Airbnb accomodations exceeding five rooms.

Airbnb South-East Asia head of public policy Mich Goh told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that the company will work with government bodies, as well as policymakers around the world to make it easier for both hosts and guests to pay taxes.

“Airbnb has been engaging Malaysian authorities for some time, so the announcement is a positive step for our community, as governments around the world are using tax revenue collected from Airbnb to support community programmes, destination marketing efforts, as well as tourism infrastructure,” she said.

Goh added that Airbnb had remitted more than US$510 million (RM1.99 billion) in hotel and tourist taxes as a result of similar agreements made with more than 340 jurisdictions worldwide.

She said Airbnb ensures a streamlined process for its hosts and lightens the administrative burden for the state and local governments by collecting taxes from the local community and remitting on their behalf.

“In most cases, we accomplish this through our voluntary collection agreement. We actively keep our hosts informed of all regulatory updates,” she said.

Before the government made it a requirement for all Airbnb accomodations nationwide to register their services and pay tourism taxes, there was an outcry against Airbnb being allowed to operate at will.

Malaysian Association of Hotels president Cheah Swee Hee said over the past few years, unregulated Airbnb services had affected the hotel industry’s income by 20%.

Cheah found it unfair that hotels have to conform to so many regulations, while the Airbnb accomodations could do as they pleased.

Airbnb told TMR previously that it had 17,270 listings in Malaysia alone with a growth rate of 130% year-on-year (YoY).

Airbnb reported an inbound guest growth of 248% YoY, along with an outbound guest growth of 168% YoY.

Source : The Malaysian Reserve

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