Homesharing company Airbnb has agreed to start collecting taxes from its users in Oklahoma.
Starting July 1st, the company will collect the 4.5 percent state sales tax, as well as local lodging and city taxes. Oklahoma joins more than 275 jurisdictions around the world in which Airbnb is collecting and remitting hotel taxes.
Airbnb has faced regulatory battles in cities and countries around the world. Many local governments are concerned that the site facilitates illegal hotels that don’t pay taxes, while the site’s users say it’s just a way for middle-class homeowners to make extra cash.
Paula Ross, communications director for the Oklahoma Tax Commission, says there are no estimates yet on how much revenue Airbnb will generate for the state. But taxing listings will level the playing field between local brick-and-mortar businesses and the sharing economy .
“It allows communities to benefit from the economic impact of, whether it’s homesharing, or whether it’s internet sales, so those local communities don’t lose their sales tax.”
Oklahoma City Treasurer Bob Ponkilla says there’s no easy way to determine which listings qualify to be taxed as hotels. He says that could present a future challenge to regulators.
More than 33,000 guests used the service in Oklahoma in 2016, a 200% increase from the year before.
Another online retailer, Amazon, began collecting sales taxes in Oklahoma in March.