Airbnb Pays “Tens Of Millions” To San Francisco To Settle Hotel Tax Bill

Airbnb finally gave in to San Francisco’s demands that it fork over a bunch of cash to pay back-taxes after failing to pay the city’s 14% hotel tax going back a few years. Airbnb wouldn’t say how much it had paid, but officials had said it ran into the millions of dollars.

An insider cited by San Francisco Gate adds that the amount was in the “tens of millions” of dollars, after officials had estimated that the short-term rental company owed the city as much as $25 million.

The company announced yesterday that it had paid its bill “in full,” with a company spokesman declining to offer up the exact amount, citing the company’s revenue and tax records as confidential.

City Supervisor David Campos called the news a “major victory,” but added that it’s what the company should’ve done all along.

“We are glad they did this, but I don’t know if congratulations are in order for someone who paid their taxes three years late,” Campos said.

The city finally legalized short-term rentals last year, with the new law saying that Airbnb would have to pay San Francisco’s hotel tax going forward. It didn’t mention what should be done on the issue of owing back taxes.

Back in 2012, City Treasurer Jose Cisneros had ruled that Airbnb owed back taxes, but hadn’t revealed how much money he’d collected so far from the company. Sources told SFGate that the treasurer’s office had audited Airbnb’s records to come up with the final tally.

“Two weeks ago, the treasurer’s office told us what they thought was owed in back taxes,” Airbnb said in its statement, confirming that the company had paid that amount.

Mayor Ed Lee said he he as pleased with the decision, as it’ll bring in revenue going forward for the city and shows that Airbnb “embraces the values of its hometown and the importance of being a good corporate citizen.”

Meanwhile, Supervisor Julie Christensen put it a bit more succinctly, saying, “Hallelujah — let’s move on.”

Just last month, city officials announced a new requirement that Airbnb hosts register with the city in person before they’re allowed to rent out rooms or entire homes where they live on a permanent basis, at least 275 days out of the year.

Airbnb pays tax bill of ‘tens of millions’ to S.F. [SFGate]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.