Airbnb begins collecting 14% hotel tax in San Francisco

After hammering out details with city regulators for months, the peer-to-peer home rental service will start charging guests hotel taxes on October 1.

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Airbnb will begin collecting and remitting hotel taxes in San Francisco on October 1. Screenshot by CNET

Airbnb has been hashing out proposed rules with San Francisco regulators over the last few months. Now, one of the city's wishes is finally being realized -- the peer-to-peer apartment rental service will begin collecting hotel taxes on behalf of its hosts.

"Our community members in San Francisco have told us they want to pay their fair share and the overwhelming majority have asked us to help," David Owen, Airbnb's regional head of public policy, wrote in a blog post Wednesday. "This has been a complicated issue and we're happy to be taking action to help simplify the collection process for hosts, guests and for the City."

One of the major complaints city regulators have had about Airbnb is that San Francisco is losing out on tax revenue hotels pay when tourists stay at the short-term apartment rentals offered through the site.

Like many US cities, San Francisco hotels charge guests a 14 percent tax as dictated by the law. Airbnb will be collecting the same amount on behalf of its hosts.

Airbnb will begin charging taxes in San Francisco on October 1. Those people who book a rental after this date will see a new line item on their Airbnb receipt that says "Transient Occupancy Tax." This line item will reflect 14 percent of the total amount to be paid by guests who stay fewer than 30 days at an Airbnb rental. Once collected by Airbnb, these taxes will be transferred to the city.

In March, Airbnb pledged it would start "collecting and remitting taxes on behalf of our hosts in San Francisco" by July. "We have repeatedly said that we believe our community in San Francisco should pay its fair share of taxes," David Hantman, Airbnb head of global public policy, wrote in a blog post at the time.

As of July, Airbnb hadn't started collecting the 14 percent hotel tax. It appears it took some extra time to hammer out the details.

San Francisco isn't the first city to get hotel taxes from Airbnb rentals. Portland, Ore., began collecting taxes on rentals through the site in March.

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