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B.C.'s Airbnb tax adds $43 million to government coffers

Last Updated Nov 6, 2019 at 4:58 pm PDT

FILE - An Airbnb logo is pictured on Feb. 22, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Eric Risberg

$33.7 million will go into the province's coffers, and can be used for affordable housing

$9.2 million will go to local governments and will be used to promote tourism

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The first year of the Airbnb tax has brought in nearly $43 million for the province and local governments.

Airbnb collects 8 per cent provincial sales tax for all short-term rentals it facilitates in B.C. The 8 per cent PST rate is in line with the tax rate for hotels and resorts in B.C.

The company also collects up to 3 per cent in municipal and regional district tax.

The bulk of the $43 million collected since the tax was introduced has been due to PST, and an Airbnb spokesperson says that money will go directly toward provincial affordable housing projects. The rest will go toward promoting local tourism.

“Airbnb is proud to be providing significant contributions to affordable housing and tourism promotion initiatives in British Columbia. We commend the provincial government for their smart and progressive approach on this issue,” says Alexandra Dagg, Director of Public Policy for Airbnb Canada. “We encourage other platforms to come to the table and contribute to the positive economic impact of home sharing in B.C. as well.”

The tax was announced by Finance Minister Carole James in February, 2018.

“This agreement — the first arrangement of its kind — is good for B.C.’s municipalities, who will receive the municipal regional district tax revenue. It’s good for people who will see more money flowing in for affordable housing. And this arrangement is certainly good for B.C.’s hospitality industry because it ensures tax fairness in that sector,” she said.

B.C. is one of two provinces, along with Quebec, that collects provincial sales tax from Airbnb, but the company has previously said it would be willing to work with governments on further tax collection agreements.

In the rest of the country, it is up to hosts to collect sales tax and provide it to the federal government. The company has partnered with the Canada Revenue Agency to increase tax compliance, last year providing statements of earnings and educational materials to its more than 55,000 hosts.

With files from Marcella Bernardo and The Canadian Press