Vienna taxman tells Airbnb users to cough up
Vienna is to follow Berlin and New York in cracking down on people who rent their private accommodation to tourists through websites such as Airbnb.
Vienna officials have said they want fairer competition between private individuals and the mainstream hotel industry, who have been undercut in prices by people advertising their homes on holiday letting websites.
The city says many people who rent their apartments through these websites do not know that they might need to pay taxes which authorities now want to change.
There are around 5,000 accommodation places listed in Vienna alone on Airbnb and officials say they will be contacting to inform them about what they need to pay.
“International platforms cannot escape these obligations and should not believe that the rules that apply to Austrian hotels do not apply to them,” said the city financial advisor Renate Brauner.
According to estimates by the city’s financial authority, the taxman could pocket a further €100,000 if the ‘Ortstaxe’, which applies to those who rent out private accommodation to visitors, is collected correctly.
If a house is used commercially - for example if it is one of many operated by the same landlord or if there are employees involved - then a business license must also be obtained.
The fine for people who do not have a license who should has also been increased from €420 to €2,100 - and those who do not pay can expect inspectors to come knocking on their door, the city warned.