SHORT-TERM RENTALS

Net to catch negligent hosts

Tax administration strikes cooperation deal with major online short-term rental platforms

net-to-catch-negligent-hosts

The noose is tightening around property owners who don’t declare their takings from short-term rentals, along with those who have not declared their properties on the Independent Authority for Public Revenue’s online platform and acquired a registration number.

In previous years, more than 20,000 properties listed on online short-term rental platforms were found not to have been declared on the online register. The IAPR head had called on owners and managers to submit declarations for 2018 and 2019, noting they would be identified and forced to pay the taxes due along with fines.

Now the tax administration has launched advanced cross-checking procedures, making the most of data provided by banks and other transaction platforms. It has already received data from the major online rental platforms, with inspections expanded to find all owners who don’t declare their revenues. The IAPR inspectors are also being assisted by experts from the Tourism Ministry, while the Financial Crimes Squad is involved in checking the actual properties.

Yet the most impressive element of the process is the agreement the IAPR has just signed with three leading platforms in the industry, namely Airbnb, Booking.com and VRBO (of the Expedia group): Thousands of hosts pocket 100% of the benefits from the sharing economy without paying any tax to the state. The deal the IAPR has reached dictates that in order for a host to enter a property into any of the above platforms, they must first fill in the property registration number from the IAPR platform. The platforms will automatically reject any listing applications that are missing a registration number. That will allow the tax authorities to know the precise number of properties being leased and the amount the host collects.

“This optimum practice milestone allows us to monitor and further strengthen the compliance of taxpayers, while securing fair competition terms,” IAPR director Giorgos Pitsilis stated on Tuesday.