Puerto Rico signs tax agreement with Airbnb
SAN JUAN – Aiming to boost tourism on the island, Puerto Rico has signed a deal with Airbnb under which the company will collect a room tax from the island’s hosts and turn the revenue over to the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC).
Under the agreement, Airbnb will charge a 7 percent tax it will send to the PRTC. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said Thursday that collections will begin in August, adding that the deal will ensure the collection of more than $2 million in taxes.
The San Francisco-based company has more than 4,300 hosts and 7,100 listings in Puerto Rico.
More than 250,000 Airbnb guests stayed in Puerto Rico in the past year, an increase of 83 percent over the previous year. In 2015, Puerto Rican hosts earned nearly $16 million, The number rose to $28 million last year, with a typical host earning $5,700 a year. According to data provided by the governor’s office, this has helped the island’s economy by $23 million.
As the governor reaffirmed that “Puerto Rico is open for business,” PRTC Director José R. Izquierdo emphasized that the agreement will increase available capital to reinvest it in the visitor’s economy.
“Consumers are looking to have authentic experiences and they want to have a variety of alternatives to plan their travels. As a tourism destination, we must respond actively to visitors’ wishes, while we help our industry to prepare itself for a changing economy,” Izquierdo said.
The agreement—signed between the governor, Tourism’s executive director and Airbnb’s head of Global Policy and Public Affairs, Chris Lehane—is part of a memorandum of understanding to expand tourism on the island, share data and establish a workforce to convene periodically.
“The system to share lodging is helping to spread the benefits of tourism. This includes to make it possible for Puerto Rican families to earn money by renting their homes. We are excited to work with the Government of Puerto Rico on this agreement, which will bring new revenue to the island. Let’s go, Puerto Rico!” Lehane said.
—The Associated Press contributed to this report.