Alberta Budget 2020: Short-term rentals to be taxed 4% like hotels already are

The Airbnb logo is displayed on a phone screen.
The Airbnb logo is displayed on a phone screen. Chesnot / Getty Images

The four per cent tax hotels in Alberta already pay will now be applied to short-term rentals, according to the government’s 2020 budget released Thursday.

READ MORE: Alberta budget 2020 mired in red ink, but government to put ‘even finer focus on job creation’

The United Conservative Party said applying the tourism levy to short-term rentals offered online is expected to earn the province $3 million this year and $4 million in 2021-22.

The current exemption for places with fewer than four bedrooms will be removed, the government said, adding the tax will “[level] the playing field among temporary accommodation providers.”

A new exemption will be introduced for properties not offered online that charge less than $30 per day or $210 per week, or if the operator has an annual gross revenue of less than $5,000.

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“This new exemption is intended to minimize red tape by alleviating the administrative and compliance costs for owners not listed on online marketplaces who only occasionally rent out their accommodations,” the government said.

The idea to tax rentals was brought up in the fall 2019 budget. Legislation will be introduced in the spring, with the changes expected to take effect in summer.

Airbnb, Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association weigh in

Nathan Rotman, deputy director of public policy for Airbnb Canada, told Global News the company is happy to work with the government on implementing this measure.

“These changes are a welcome opportunity to further help communities throughout the entire province benefit from the positive economic impacts of home-sharing,” he said.

“Airbnb hosts across Alberta are a benefit to their community, welcoming tourists from around the world and spreading positive economic impact outside of traditional tourist zones, while also giving many residents the ability to afford to stay in their homes.”

Airbnb said the Alberta tax rate is very similar to what it has seen elsewhere, between 3.5 and four per cent.

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The Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association also welcomed the new tourism tax.

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“Alberta hotels are pleased that the provincial government has started to level the playing field between accommodation providers by requiring short-term rental platforms to collect and remit the provincial tourism levy,” said president and CEO Dave Kaiser.

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A closer look at Alberta’s 2020 budget – Feb 27, 2020