State of Hawaii will subpoena Airbnb for host information
According to Hawaii's Department of Taxation director Rona Suzuki, all Airbnb hosts are subject to a 4.5% general excise tax and a 10.25% "transient accommodation" tax if the rental is less than 30 days.
Suzuki claims the state has reason to believe some Airbnb hosts have not paid these taxes. A judge ruled Wednesday the state can now subpoena Airbnb for the financial records of their hosts.
An Airbnb spokesperson said this comes after the state tried subpoenaing information about all hosts last year. The new agreement between Airbnb and the department of taxation explains the host pool subject to subpoena is narrowed to 1,000 hosts with the highest combined revenues between 2016-2018.
Suzuki says right now the state does not know much about the pool of hosts on Airbnb and other rental websites, and does not know the number of hosts not paying taxes.
"Its hard to know if you don't know who the host universe is, so that was the purpose of the subpoena, to get better information about who the host universe is in order to determine whether they are compliant or not," Suzuki said.
Suzuki says she anticipates the subpoena will be handed down soon, and Airbnb will have to divulge the necessary information within 28 days.