The Department of Revenue and Taxation is working on an MOU with airbnb.com to allow them to collect taxes from the hundreds of illegal unlicensed Air bnb establishments on island.
Guam – Last week a PNC investigation found that there are over 300 listings for Guam on airbnb.com despite the fact that there are only 16 that are licensed at Rev&Tax.
“I know there’s a lot of things that are happening out there illegally. People probably operating without a proper license for one thing. Maybe some of the things happening is they have an apartment license or condo license but not a bnb license,” said DRT Director John Camacho. Camacho is referring to the underground unlicensed Air bnb or bed-n-breakfast industry on Guam. It’s an industry that includes places like the JK Guest House which a PNC investigation found is licensed only as an apartment complex even though it’s operating as an Air bnb.
The good news is that Camacho says they are working on a way to be able to collect taxes from these Air bnb’s who are advertising online. “We have a draft MOU with Air bnb basically and we’re looking at maybe in a few months to try and secure that agreement where Air bnb will collect on behalf of the government,” said Camacho.
Camacho says they’ve already had a conference call with airbnb.com. “This is what they do worldwide basically, is they collect on behalf of the governments. So, they’re willing to do that for the government of Guam so our legal team is looking into that MOU so hopefully we can resolve it and any issues between us and Air bnb so we can get the collection going.”
Although this could solve the tax issue with the unlicensed Air bnb’s, there are still other regulations that these unlicensed businesses are avoiding. For example, fire codes, safety, and sanitation standards. “Even in the Air bnb, it’s very specific. It tells you what the size of bed is and the distance between the beds and all these things because they want to ensure there’s safety in the room,” said Camacho.
Camacho says they are working with other regulatory agencies like the Department of Public Works, the Guam Fire Department and the Department of Public Health. “We’re doing our best working with other agencies to identify these illegal Air bnb’s. I mean bed and breakfasts operating as bed and breakfasts illegally, so we can actually you know, there’s a stiff penalty for these things. Lastly, I guess is that we’re getting additional staff that I want to mention. At least four to six staff for regulatory that will help with these problems that are happening.”
The rev & tax director is also asking for help from the community. If you notice anything that may seem like an illegal bed n breakfast give rev&tax, dpw or the guam fire department a call.