Photo: Chris Young The canadian Press
At the present time, users of Airbnb have no way of knowing if the tax on lodging levied since October is found alive and well in the coffers of the government.
It is impossible to know if the agreement between Quebec and Airbnb relating to the levying of the tax on lodging (TSH) is respected since all the information concerning its application are protected by the tax secrecy, has found The Duty.
On the 29th of August last, the minister of Tourism, Julie Boulet, announced that the agreement concluded with the popular rental platform, the first of its kind in Canada, would ensure that the lodging tax would now be levied directly by the company.
Under the agreement, Airbnb is committed to perceive the TSH of 3.5 % on each night from the 1st of October last — for stays of 31 days or less — and send it to Revenu Québec on a quarterly basis.
The company has also agreed to transmit it to Revenu Québec ” information relating to the amounts collected for each of the tourism regions “.
However, now that the first quarter covered by the agreement is completed since the end of the month of December, Revenue Quebec refuses to disclose the amounts charged by Airbnb between October and December or even to tell if the first payment has been made.
“Revenu Québec cannot confirm the requested information, or that the agreement is respected up to the present or that a first payment has been made, since this information is part of the tax file of the company,” responds the spokeswoman for Revenu Québec Stéphane Dion.
“Revenu Québec is to ensure, in the framework of the implementation of the various missions which are entrusted to it, that the agreements signed, regardless of the nature of these agreements, are respected by the contracting states concerned “, he says.
Mr. Dion is happy to recall that, according to the estimates passed on by Airbnb, the amount received by Revenu Québec in 2016 would have been of the order of $ 3.7 million.
Airbnb also refuses
The Law on tax administration provides that “the tax records of a person is confidential “and that” any information it contains may not be used or disclosed unless that person consents “.
This means that Airbnb could itself disclose the amount of the lodging tax collected up to now. The company does not, however, do so ” for the moment “, says his spokesperson, Lindsey Scully.
The press secretary of the minister Julie Boulet, Patrick Soucy, said for his part that ” the agreement is in operation “, while referring to Revenu Québec questions regarding the respect of the agreement.
At the present time, users of Airbnb have no way of knowing if the tax on lodging levied by Airbnb since October is found alive and well in the coffers of the government.
At the end of August, the minister Boulet pointed out that the agreement with the california company ” is a response to the concerns conveyed in particular by the tourism industry and will help to ensure a healthy competition in the hosting sector “.
Moreover, the government has indicated that it wants to enter into similar agreements with other hosting platforms.