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Airbnb to collect provincial sales tax in B.C.

Airbnb will now pay provincial sales tax to the B.C. government.

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James made the announcement in Victoria on Wednesday, saying the government had been looking at new tax models that will help with tax fairness.

“This is about a fair playing field, especially in the hospitality industry,” she said.

RELATED: Airbnb on the rise in Kelowna

Airbnb will begin collecting the 8 per cent PST and the up-to-3 per cent municipal and regional district tax (MRDT) generated through short-term accommodations provided within the province.

To streamline this process, Airbnb will remit on behalf of its hosts in B.C., ensuring no additional administrative burden is placed on them.

Many municipalities already regulate short-term rentals and the province says this tax will assist municipalities on other levels. Money collected by this tax will help fund affordable housing in the province as well as provide tax fairness for the hospitality industry.

RELATED: Vancouver wants to license Airbnb hosts

James said with Airbnb becoming involved with a sharing agreement it will push other short-term rental companies to do the same.

“This is a defining moment for Airbnb in British Columbia,” said Alex Dagg, public policy manager for Airbnb in Canada. “These changes are a welcome opportunity to continue helping the province and its residents benefit from the positive economic impacts of home sharing.”

According to the B.C. government, if Airbnb contributed to this tax in 2017 they would have collected about $18 million.

Airbnb first began remitting taxes in Portland and is looking to do so in other areas where there are short-term rentals.

Besides contributing to affordable housing this tax will also go towards promoting local tourism.

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Jen Zielinski

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