Airbnb thinks the city of San Francisco is trying to unfairly double-tax hosts there and access too much information about users.
In a blog post Thursday, Airbnb wrote:
Recently, some hosts in San Francisco have received letters from the City Tax Collector demanding that they pay hotel taxes, even though Airbnb is already collecting those taxes and sending them to the city on your behalf. The city is accepting nearly $1 million every month from the Airbnb community, but bureaucrats are demanding our community pay the same tax twice.
San Francisco, like many cities, requires that Airbnb rentals be treated like hotel rooms, at least when it comes to taxes. But the company — which enables homeowners to make money on short-term room or full-dwelling rentals — is arguing that San Francisco’s attempt to directly collect hotel taxes amounts to a demand for a second payment of the same fees.
Added Airbnb in its blog post, which is clearly aimed at getting users of its service to object to the city’s move:
On behalf of hosts, we have collected taxes on every required transaction since October 2014. Along with the monthly checks, we already give the City anonymized booking data confirming that our community has paid all required taxes. It is wrong for the City to tell you to pay a tax it already has received.
What’s more, when the City performed a comprehensive audit and told us what they thought was owed in back taxes, we paid the assessment in full.
The company also argued in its post that it thinks the city’s taxation effort may be about obtaining detailed information about the service’s users.
Even though the City has all the information they need to verify that our community has paid its tax bill, they won’t be satisfied unless we give them personal, private information about our hosts and guests.
The City of San Francisco wants to know who you are, where you live, who stayed in your house and when they were there. This demand for your personal information is wrong and we’re concerned that it sets a bad precedent for how the city treats other Internet platforms.
The company said it is working to resolve the issue without compromising users’ privacy.
Airbnb is headquartered in San Francisco.