Ottawa Hotel Association says Airbnb is a ‘virus,’ must pay more taxes

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Two Canadian hotel organizations are calling for the federal government to crack down on short-term online rental services like Airbnb.

During a July 17th, 2019 news conference in Ottawa, Alana Baker, director of government relations for The Hotel Association of Canada, said these online platforms need to pay income tax and apply GST or HST to its services. According to Baker, the government is missing out on $169-million in sales tax revenues alone.

“These platforms continue to reap the benefits without paying their fair share,” said Baker. “It is now a multi-billion dollar corporation that has no responsibilities to federal taxation and other regulatory realities such as health and safety standards.”

Steve Ball, president of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association, took the discussion one step further and likened Airbnb to a “virus” that can result in “less available housing for residents to live in, soaring rental prices making housing affordable for families [and] escalating community nuisances.”

In a written response, Airbnb spokesperson Alexandra Dagg said the hotel associations are just trying to eliminate the competition. “The big corporate hotels are at it again, peddling lies about home sharing to protect their ability to price gouge consumers, and preserve antiquated business models,” Dagg wrote. She also said Airbnb works closely with governments across Canada to collect and remit tourism taxes.

That said, the B.C. government is the only jurisdiction in Canada to require Airbnb to remit PST. The arrangement has proven to be quite lucrative so far, with Airbnb giving back nearly double the expected amount in the first six months it has been collecting taxes.

Via: 680 News

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