The D-G reports that Airbnb, the online site facilitating short-term vacation rentals of residential properties, will remit about $1.2 million in tax revenues to Arkansas that the company collected over the course of the first year in an agreement it reached with the state.
Under the agreement, which went into effect Feb. 1, 2017, Airbnb voluntarily began collecting taxes on behalf of hosts and guests. Compliance with tax law (and complaints about competition from current stakeholders such as hotels) has been an ongoing controversy for Airbnb in other states and municipalities across the country. The company has tax agreements with more than 300 jurisdictions around the world (in addition to the state of Arkansas, that includes the cities of Bentonville, Fayetteville, Eureka Springs and Hot Springs), and has collected and remitted more than $510 million in tax revenues according to a recent company report.
There are more than 1,600 Airbnb hosts in Arkansas, with more than 78,000 guest arrivals in 2017, according to Airbnb data. The company says that the “typical host” earned $4,600 last year.
In the company’s press release, Larry Walther, Director of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, gave the following statement:
We appreciate Airbnb proactively working with the state of Arkansas. Today’s announcement is a testament to the growing impact of the tourism sector on state revenues.
In certain prime tourist destinations, local residents have complained that property owners are using non-owner-occupied residences essentially as Airbnb hotels — renting out entire homes for short-term vacations year round — rather than rental properties, driving up rental costs and damaging local communities. Probably a long way from that being an issue in Arkansas.