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Airbnb has collected, paid $16.8M+ in occupancy tax in Puerto Rico in 3 years

Short-term rental platform Airbnb announced that from Aug. 1, 2017 to Aug. 31, 2020 it has collected a total of $16.8 million from the 7% hotel room occupancy tax and remitted the money to the Puerto Rico government.  

In 2017, Airbnb established an agreement with the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. to formalize short-term rentals and collect and remit a 7% occupancy tax from travelers utilizing the digital platform.

“The remittance process is seamless. Airbnb collects the occupancy tax directly from guests and remits it to the Puerto Rico Tourism Co.,” the company said in a statement.

“Airbnb is the only digital company in Puerto Rico that collects an occupancy tax from tourists who visit the island,” said Carlos Muñoz, Airbnb’s public policy manager for Central America, and the Caribbean, adding that “the home-sharing community has enabled thousands of Puerto Rican families to share their island with guests from all over the world and earn extra money.”

“Our purpose is to help Puerto Rico, its municipalities and the community develop tourism by facilitating new and unique accommodation options,” said Muñoz. “We know that it’s also our responsibility to work hand-in-hand with government entities to do so in a streamlined manner by contributing to the collection and remittance of the corresponding taxes.” 

A few days ago, Airbnb presented a study analyzing search data on the platform specifically for Puerto Rico that revealed that 80% of the searches between Aug. 1 and Sept. 15 were done by locals seeking “staycation” options, and 20% by foreigners, indicating domestic tourism by Puerto Ricans is the predominant catalyst to reactivate tourism on the island.

“We know that today more than ever, tourism needs to be reactivated responsibly, and at Airbnb, we are willing to collaborate with our hosts and with local authorities to make this possible,” Muñoz said.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.