Australia - Queensland State Government - AirBnB Review

I sent a submission to the Queensland State Government in Australia regarding their current review of home sharing. I received this response yesterday.

"Message from the Office of the Premier
The Premier 17 July 2018 at 17:06
To: “”

Thank you for your email regarding home sharing in Queensland. I have been requested to reply to you on behalf of the Premier and Minister for Trade.

As you rightly point out, there are real benefits from the sharing economy including increased visitation, small business growth and jobs.

The Queensland Government is committed to growing the tourism industry and supporting small business growth, and is seeking input from a range of stakeholders so that any measures considered are appropriate to Queensland’s unique circumstances.

The Honourable Kate Jones MP, Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games established an Industry Reference Group (the Group) following calls by the Local Government Association of Queensland for a clear policy and response to the use of residential properties for short-term accommodation that are facilitated by online bookings.

On 9 July 2018, following Minister Jones’ chairing of the fourth Group meeting, she announced that a code of conduct for hosts and guests will be central to Queensland’s response to short-term letting. Minister Jones also announced that the Government would look to introduce a system of data sharing in the short-term accommodation sector.

The Queensland Government wants to make it easier, not harder, for people to come to our great State, however, it is also important to preserve our standard of living here in Queensland. To this end, the Group will draft a list of recommendations which are expected to be presented to the Government by the end of the year for its consideration and it will be important that the Government strikes the right balance.

Again, thank you for writing to the Premier on this important matter.

Yours sincerely
Office of the Premier"

The traditional short-stay accommodation industry has strong links with the Queensland Government. The Queensland Government funds Tourism Queensland. The primary KPI for Tourism Queensland is room nights in hotel/motel/resort properties. Any leakage to home-stays is bad news for Tourism Queensland even though our State is benefiting from the home and ride sharing economies.

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I can see where this is heading. I believe it stems from people not adding the income gained from renting their own homes or a room in their home. It’s all about the tax that they are missing out on. It’s the people who are not declaring this income that has partly caused this. In addition the heat has been turned on by the hotel and motel industries because they are missing out on income.

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Certainly there would be many of us who do not declare the income however it is the Australian Government that collects the taxes. There are no State taxes.

Also, AirBnB provides the Australian Tax Office with information on money paid to individual taxpayers, so we are told.

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Perhaps, but I do know people personally who have been hosting for years and have never declared the income. I also host with Homeaway and they certainly forward that information to the tax department. I declare all income and have paid to have my home valued before I started hosting to cover the new capital gains that the Federal Government have put in place. I spoke to my accountant and because Airbnb are not an Australian company they do not have to declare hosts payments yet. but it will come.

Yes you have done things exactly the right way Catherine from a tax point of view.

My interest is in trying to persuade lawmakers not to unreasonably restrict home sharing. Is there a home sharing association out there that can present and represent our case?

Hi, I know there is a group on the Sunshine Coast and will try to find the email contact for you, but apart from that, I only received the same email that you did from Airbnb re writing to our local Minister. There must be something we can do. We are such a nanny state here. Please let me know if you find something as well. I saw a great tip on this site about getting our own business cards printed and leaving for guests to book and also tell friends so that may be something you can try too. We have been looking after our elderly in laws with Dementia for two months so that income has been our only income.