The City of Victoria’s plans to regulate short-term rental locations isn’t likely to change given the news that Airbnb will be remitting provincial sales tax in B.C. on behalf of its hosts. Airbnb

Airbnb to collect provincial sales tax in B.C.

The company will begin gathering 8 per cent PST and the up-to-3 percent MRDT

The City of Victoria is anticipating that the province’s new taxation on short-term rental industry leader Airbnb will level the playing field between businesses and help provide much needed housing.

“Essentially the regulations the province brought in today are making Airbnb pay taxes just like any other business. It’s making them play by the rules,” said Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday, council’s spokesperson on the issue.

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James echoed that statement at Wednesday’s announcement that her ministry has reached an arrangement with the home accommodation company that will enable it to collect provincial sales tax on all short-term rentals booked through its online platform. The decision is in line with the government’s move toward new tax models that help with tax fairness, she added.

“This is about a fair playing field, especially in the hospitality industry,” James said.

Airbnb will begin collecting the eight-per-cent PST and up to three per cent in municipal and regional district taxes generated through the short-term accommodation its operators provide within the province.

To streamline this process, Airbnb will remit on behalf of its hosts in B.C., ensuring no additional administrative burden is placed on the operators.

Late last year the City of Victoria began to adjust its zoning regulations to prevent short-term rentals from springing up in and around downtown, as a way to help slow the removal of previously long-term rental suites for use as potentially higher-yield night-by-night rentals.

RELATED: City to hire contractor to study short-term rentals in Victoria

Even with the “welcome announcement” that funds will be collected to support the province’s housing affordability plans, Loveday said there was no expectation that the move would have any impact on the direction the City is moving in regulating short-term rentals through zoning bylaws and business licensing.

As for the affect on the end user, he said, “I’m sure that operators will just pass these costs on to their guests.”

“For the most part, the short-term rental operators that I’ve spoken to have said they want to comply with the rules and they want to be contributing businesses.”

James said with Airbnb becoming involved with a sharing agreement it will push other short-term rental companies to do the same.

“This is a defining moment for Airbnb in British Columbia,” said Alex Dagg, public policy manager for Airbnb in Canada. “These changes are a welcome opportunity to continue helping the province and its residents benefit from the positive economic impacts of home sharing.”

According to the B.C. government, if Airbnb contributed to this tax in 2017 they would have collected about $18 million. The company first began remitting taxes in Portland and is looking to do so in other areas.

Besides contributing to affordable housing, the tax money will also go toward promoting local tourism.

– with files from Jen Zielinski

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Oak Bay’s wolf of Discovery Island ‘alive and healthy’

Park remains open to the public; domestic animals prohibited

Spawning salmon start to trickle through Goldstream Park

Projections for this year’s salmon run is 30,000 to 40,000 fish

Salish Sea misses Canada’s tentative list for Word Heritage Sites

A petition supporting the application garnered over 1,000 signatures

Homeless campers near Saanich municipal hall to move today

Tenters plan to move within Saanich, push bylaws

VicPD plans no ‘direct enforcement action’ on current marijuana dispensaries

VicPD chief speaks to how police will handle legalized cannabis

Watch: Saanich responds to mock emergency for ammonia Leak

Hazmat suits, emergency centre respond to mock ammonia leak

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks.”

Parole denied for convicted killer-rapist Paul Bernardo after 25 years in prison

Paul Bernardo plead for release on Wednesday by arguing he has done what he could to improve himself during his 25 years in prison.

Man holds newborn son for first time after devastating B.C. racetrack crash

Kayden was born the day after Jonathan was crushed by car at speedway

Smooth start to legal cannabis in B.C., Mike Farnworth says

Online and government store makes 4,000 sales by noon

Most Read