HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has compelled Airbnb to disclose comprehensive earnings data of all its users covering six years’ worth of income in an effort to uncover any unpaid tax.
Property owners could now face penalties of up to 30% of the tax owed, or even criminal prosecution.
Since February, HMRC has reportedly sent 800 letters to Airbnb hosts suspected of not paying their fair share of tax, urging the hosts to disclose their rental income derived from the platform. The authority is believed to be in the process of gaining a comprehensive understanding of the holiday let sector and identifying participants before initiating enforcement actions.
An Airbnb spokesman said: “Hosts want to pay their fair share of tax and we want to help, which is why Airbnb partners with industry experts across the UK to help hosts understand and follow tax rules.
“We also work with HMRC to share information and help ensure that UK authorities receive the taxes they are due, in accordance with UK laws.
“The typical UK host shares their own home for just two nights a month, and one in three say the extra income helps them afford rising living costs.”
The annual tax-free threshold stands at £1,000 for hosts letting a whole property, or £7,500 for those who rent out a room in their own home.