Legislation is presently being formalized to allow the government to derive revenue from Airbnb properties in The Bahamas, according to Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu.
Airbnb executives signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in August 2017, with the government, to include sharing of aggregate Airbnb Bahamas data, provision of information to Airbnb on Bahamas industry-related laws, and exploration of Airbnb’s collection and remittance of any applicable taxes.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Jibrilu said, the Ministry has established a positive working relationship with Airbnb and that they have partnered to create a mechanism for registering local properties.
“We are now working on the technical side, working with the Ministry of Finance to enable legislation to allow the government to collect taxes as an additional revenue stream,” Jibrilu said.
“We are working with the Ministry of Finance and the enabling legislation to allow the government to collect the taxes, as the framework is already in place.”
Jibrilu stressed that the additional fees will not impact renters.
“If you rent for place for $100 that will be yours to keep,” she said.
“Airbnb will simply add the 12 per cent [value-added tax (VAT)] to the bill for consumers and they will collect that on behalf of the Bahamian government.”
Airbnb reported recently that in The Bahamas, there are 1,900 listings on its platform. A typical host, according to the company, earns an average of $6,000.00 US dollars a year and guests stay an average of 4.6 nights.
The number of guest arrivals to The Bahamas through Airbnb in the last 18 months has also reportedly grown by 95 per cent.
During the signing of the MOU, Tourism Minister Dioniso D’Agular said, government recognizes that there is a need to diversify the accommodations sector of the tourism industry; circumvent potential industry sub-sector challenges; ensure the safety of the home rental guest, owner, and property; and develop and showcase this niche market as a national revenue resource.