Brison wants govt. to sign tax agreement with Airbnb   | THE DAILY HERALD


PHILIPSBURG–Tax collection agreements with home-sharing sites AirBnB and VRBO to help the country cash in on this section of the sharing economy is the goal of a motion United St. Maarten Party Member of Parliament Rolando Brison tabled in Parliament on Monday. The motion will be put to a vote later this week when the plenary session with Finance Minister Perry Geerlings resumes.

The motion, signed by six MPs, calls for Geerlings to immediately engage directly with AirBnB and VRBO to get these platforms to collect accommodations tax or turnover tax on behalf of hosts and remit these to the Tax Office. The minister will have 90 days to complete the process once the motion is passed.

The tax collection agreements would result in an “additive” amount. That means the people offering their accommodations on these platforms will receive their full nightly rate, but the renter will pay the tax.

Should the motion pass, Geerlings must report to Parliament within 30 days with draft tax collection agreements with Airbnb and VRBO.

Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Stuart Johnson together with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau are called by the motion to concurrently prepare a plan for the promotion of peer-to-peer hosts once they are tax compliant through the tax collection agreements as well as to reform licensing and permits for hosts using P2P (peer-to-peer) platforms to rent properties. These plans must be presented to Parliament within 60 days of the motion’s adoption.

Brison cited in the motion that there are 440 active St. Maarten properties rented via Airbnb and VRBO. Without a tax agreement or a way to cash in on this sector of the sharing economy, “government is potentially forfeiting millions of guilders at this moment of unpaid room tax.”

Planned tax reform as presented in Parliament by the Finance Ministry does not include ways to address P2P platforms’ tax compliance, he pointed out. A tax collection agreement is, therefore, “a more effective and final solution for collecting taxes from P2P rentals, as opposed to going through the process of an MOU with any P2P platform.”

Airbnb already has tax collection agreements with several governments, including the Netherlands and Aruba.

Source: The Daily Herald