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Tax on Airbnb rentals likely to start on Jan. 1

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Regulating the growth of online rental platforms while also appeasing irate hoteliers, the state plans to begin a 3 percent tax on homeowners using this increasingly popular digital technology beginning Jan. 1.

Yucatán state officials also plan to enforce heath standards of houses, apartments, haciendas or casonas that are offered on sites such as Airbnb, reports Milenio Novedades.

As much as 35 percent of all paid lodging in Yucatán is transacted through Airbnb and similar platforms, said the the leader of a hotel trade group, who was lobbying for a 16 percent tax on Airbnb revenue.

The Chamber of Commerce president, Juan José Abraham Dáguer; Tourist Business Council President Jorge Escalante Bolio; and Héctor Navarrete Medina, leader of the Yucatán Hotel Association, told reporters in June that private homeowners who list their properties online — in competition with hotels — should be regulated.

Online rentals will likely be taxed by Jan. 1. Photo: Airbnb

Legislators said the tax brings “free economic competition” among hotels and homeowners. Hotels already pay taxes and fees, and are subject to health and safety regulations, to operate in Yucatán.

In Mérida, most of the private properties that offer hosting services through electronic platforms are renovated homes located in the Historic Center and are mainly owned by foreigners, but are also offered by the local population.

About 900 properties in Yucatán, including along the Gulf coast, are listed on Airbnb, just as hotel owners are building quickly to meet projected demand as a new convention center prepares to open. Mérida will have 10,065 rooms in 249 hotels by the end of the year — most aimed at business travelers.

With information from Sipse

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