Airbnb To Share Personal Details Of 200,000 Members In Government Tax Crackdown
Short-stay accommodation business Airbnb has become embroiled in the government's plan to crackdown on the black economy.
Airbnb has told its nearly 200,000 Australian homeowners -- or hosts -- that their details will be provided to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), in an email sent on Thursday.
The email revealed their personal details, including names, addresses and emails would be given to the ATO.
"Airbnb is currently under legal notice by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to share information concerning your hosting activity from the period from 1 January to 30 June 2019," the email said.
The crackdown comes after the federal government vowed to stamp out the black economy as a means of making sure everyone in the Australian workforce is paying the correct amount of tax.
This includes people who are making money from renting properties or rooms on Airbnb, but not declaring it, as they may not regard their work with the accommodation business as a job.
The ATO insists it is.
“We believe some people using sharing-economy platforms are failing to report their income, either on purpose or because they assume their level of activity constitutes a hobby and doesn’t require reporting,” the ATO said when announcing the crackdown.
“We also seek to identify taxpayers who use sharing-economy rental platforms as a way to disguise their property as being genuinely available for rent by listing the property but not responding to enquiries.”
Airbnb spokesperson Brent Thomas said the home-renting service is trying to find a balance between assisting the ATO and making it possible for their hosts to do their jobs.
“Airbnb is committed to making it as easy as possible for our hosts to pay their taxes, along with making it easier for the ATO to do their job," Thomas said in a statement obtained by The Australian.
The ATO announced they would be looking at "all aspects of the economy" when cracking-down on tax dodgers. They claimed some people who used the 'sharing economy' to make money or supplement their income were failing to report how much they were making each financial year.
"Our focus is to ensure that people renting a room, their home while they’re away or investment property through web or app-based platforms in the sharing economy understand their obligations," the ATO said in a statement in August.
The ATO said they will match data provided by rental platforms, including that from Airbnb, against tax office records to identify people who rented property on a short term basis.
They will then identify who is not meeting registration, reporting, lodgment and/or payment requirements.
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