Province seeks 'level playing field' for hotels, Airbnb
Published Friday, September 20, 2019 7:36PM CST Last Updated Friday, September 20, 2019 7:44PM CST
The Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association is calling on the province to start collecting PST on Airbnb operations.
In May 2018, the provincial government amended its Provincial Sales Tax Act so that Airbnb would have to charge its hosts PST – however the company is not complying, the government says.
The association says it has a problem with hosts who are taking advantage of the lack of taxation, especially those who host multiple rooms. President and CEO Jim Bence said collection is a three-prong approach.
“Three primary asks around bylaws would be have a business license, if you're going to be a business have the appropriate licenses.
“The second thing is primary residence only, so in your home if you want to rent a room, all fair. Whole home rentals should be offside, that's commercial operation. As well as making sure it’s not multi-unit, so those would be the aspects that would really level the playing field, because then we are all paying the appropriate taxes and we're all playing by the same rules.”
In 2018, Saskatchewan Airbnb hosts generated $3 billion of potential taxable revenue.
“What it comes down to is making it a level playing field, there are two things; go directly to the businesses themselves so those folks offering shared accommodation services,” said Jeff Welke, executive director of communications for the Ministry of Finance. “Those online platforms would be a much more seamless way of collecting and remitting taxes on shared accommodation services.”
Airbnb host Marc Trottier said taxation needs to be adjusted based on a person’s length of stay.
“I don't feel that when somebody is booking for 30 days it should be treated the same as a hotel. we certainly don't charge PST on apartment rent or on mortgages.
“I feel that long term booking should've been exempt from this PST and anything under 28 days maybe should have PST added.”
Airbnb did not respond to a request for comment on the company’s compliance.