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Airbnb hosts the latest tax target for Revenue

Revenue Commissioners appear to be accelerating their focus on ‘short-term accommodation’ service providers such as Airbnb hosts, just months after it issued letters to 12,000 taxpayers as part of its ‘service for compliance’ campaign.

Reports suggest Revenue is in the process of analysing the response from its ‘short-term accommodation’ project, with the potential for a fully-fledged compliance audit in the coming months.

Within the letters issued in 2018, Revenue warned Airbnb hosts that they should pay tax on all short-term rental income and to amend tax returns to factor this in where necessary.

The letters stated that short-term accommodation providers who do correct tax returns can “avail of reduced penalties” and prevent their name being “published in the list of tax defaulters”, as well as avoiding “possible prosecution”.

Since 1st July, Airbnb hosts and other short-term landlords may face a new extra water, insurance and commercial rates bill. The bill will also be applicable to so-called ‘accidental’ landlords.

The new measures are designed to limit the use of residential properties for short-term holiday lets, in a bid to breathe new life into the volume of available housing stock.

Landlords will be able to let out individual rooms in their own homes and apartments without prior planning permission. They will also be able to let out their entire property for no more than 90 days a year, but commercial planning permission will be required.

Housing Minister, Eoghan Murphy said: “We support home sharing but not turning long-term rentals into holiday rentals.”

Revenue is no stranger to targeting specific industries to seek tax evasion via audits and other compliance measures.

In 2018, it completed a high-profile compliance audit of the Irish iGaming industry. According to Revenue’s 2018 annual report, the audit on Ireland’s “gaming and amusement machine sector” resulted in visits to “285 separate premises nationwide” and the seizure of “158 unlicensed gaming machines”.

 

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