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AirBnb to be taxed, regulated in Costa Rica

September 10, 2019

A new law in Costa Rica will require non-traditional housing hosts who use platforms such as Airbnb to register with the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) and the Finance Ministry.

María Amalia Revelo, Minister of Tourism, says this law (from bill 20.865) will create a more equal market within the tourism sector between traditional hotels and platforms such as AirBnb.

It will do so by charging a value-added tax (VAT) to customers. ICT says the registration process and enforcement may result in better tourist safety in Costa Rica.

In a statement from the company, AirBnb warned the new regulation would impact local communities.

“The losses that will be generated throughout the community by the new regulation will affect not only Airbnb hosts, but also restaurants and other small local entrepreneurs who today benefit from the local tourism generated by Airbnb,” the company said in the statement.

“Local hosts have contacted Airbnb directly, fearful of the final impact this legislation will have on their ability to earn additional critical income and support their families.”

ICT estimates that 9.2% of tourists entering Costa Rica via air travel used platforms such as AirBnb in 2018.

AirBnb says the platform accommodated more than 520,000 guests in Costa Rica last year.

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