Swiss authorities look at how to collect tourist tax from Airbnb hosts

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Airbnb has grown rapidly in Switzerland where hotel beds are pricy, Swiss media reports.

This has led to several of Switzerland’s 26 cantons wondering how to recover tourism taxes from the newly-found income gains’ for citizens who own homes or rooms to let out.

Swiss news agency SDA reported that cantons in the alpine country are negotiating with the U.S. tourist accommodation platform to recover tourist taxes.

The Californian company, which has more than doubled its offers in Switzerland in the past two years, has said it is willing to work with the cantons in finding a solution with minimal bureaucracy.

So far, Zug in south of Zurich is the only canton which has reached an agreement with Airbnb. Since July 2016 the website has been collecting a tourist tax on rentals on behalf of the cantonal tourist body, SDA reported.

Geneva Tourism in the west of the country aims to finalize an agreement by the end of 2018, spokesperson Lucie Gerber said.

This would include tax questions as well as a maximum number of days that a private apartment can be offered on the site each year.

While the government believes that federal legislation is relevant to regulating issues related to tourist accommodation platforms, people using vacation homes present a complication around leasing laws.

This has heightened discussions at the national level, mainly around the issue of rental law, said the report.

Switzerland faces a myriad of laws from canton to canton — even from municipality to municipality — and these may present a stumbling block to an efficient solution to a tourist tax.

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in San Francisco, in California, Airbnb is present in more than 65,000 cities across 191 countries, according to its website. The platform offers 4 million homes.

The group says it has signed an agreement with over 340 cities for the automated collection of the tourist tax via its platform.

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