New Attempt to Charge Tax on Holiday Rentals

Although Airbnb offered to collect the sales tax for transactions made in Costa Rica through its platform, the Treasury is evaluating asking the US for information on the hosts.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Directorate General for Taxation will try to exhaust all routes first with the company Airbnb, but as a second alternative, it has announced that if it does not reach an agreement with Airbnb, it could request information on the hosts, making use of international agreements for exchange of information with other governments, such as as the US.

See "Airbnb vs. Hotels: Innovate or Perish"

Airbnb, one of the leading global companies which is taking advantage of the technological revolution's boost to the collaborative economy, already has a supply of affordable housing in Costa Rica that is equals to 18% of the hotel supply. reports that "...In August 2016, Shawn Sullivan, Airbnb's Director of Public Policy for Central America and the Caribbean, proposed ... collecting and transferring sales tax on transactions carried out in the country through the digital platform."  

See: "Airbnb Wants to Pay Taxes in Costa Rica"

"... At that time, representatives from the Treasury requested information on all of the hosts in Costa Rica.  However, Sullivan emphasized that this is not possible because of policies of protection of personal data which the firm must comply with its users, both for landlords and for guests. Given this, the Director of Taxation, Carlos Vargas, indicated that, as an entity, they are subject to the principle of legality and can not do anything beyond what the law allows them to, and the type of model proposed by Airbnb is not included within the current law."

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More on this topic

Vacation Rentals: New Law Projected to Decline

September 2019

With the legal framework approved in Costa Rica, which regulates the provision of tourist rental services in housing through digital platforms, Airbnb executives anticipate a considerable drop in the number of hosts in the country.

On September 5, the Legislative Assembly reported that file 20865, the framework law for the regulation of non-traditional hosting and its intermediation through digital platforms, was approved for the second debate.

Airbnb Grows Sharply in Costa Rica

September 2017

As of July this year, 8 thousand people were registered on the web platform along with 14 thousand rooms available for rent in Costa Rica.

While authorities continue their efforts to consolidate the business by offering to the Ministry of Finance to charge sales tax for transactions made in Costa Rica, the number of Costa Rican rooms and residences available on the website continues to increase, as well as than the number of users within the country.

Airbnb to Pay Taxes in Panama

July 2017

The company has proposed to the government that a tax collection scheme be implemented for property owners that rent out rooms to tourists using its web platform.

Airbnb's idea is to establish a system similar to the one recently implemented in Puerto Rico, where the company signed an agreement with the government to collect taxes on rentals from homeowners. 

Airbnb Wants to Pay Taxes in Costa Rica

December 2016

The company's proposal states that in just two months it could start making tax payments, putting to the test the responsiveness of bureaucracy against the speed of the real economy.

Airbnb, one of the leading global companies that is taking advantage of the momentum that the technological revolution has provided to the collaborative economy, has now created a housing supply available for seasonal rental in Costa Rica which is equivalent to 18% of the supply of hotels. 

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