IS THIS THE COOLEST OFFICE ON THE PLANET?

Geoff Brand 11/05/2016Airbnb, the world-renowned online house rental website, madeinternational news when it first established an office in Sydney in2012, and the company’s Australian headquarters is making news again
after undergoing a complete overhaul. after undergoing a complete overhaul.including the Daily Mail, Designboom, Contemporist, and News.com.au .com.au coolest office in the world because there are themed rooms designedafter famous destinations around the globe. This concept may very wellbe why  visitors of the career website Glassdoor voted Airbnb thebest place to work in 2016.

TAX AVOIDANCE



Airbnb arrangements have also come under fire with the AustralianTaxation Office (ATO). This heat was due to the fact the sharingeconomy lets people operate “commercial arrangements”, which canbe used to evade tax, including Capital Gains Tax and GST.Technically income earned from an Airbnb short-term holiday let mustbe declared to the tax office, but many avoid this obligation, whichis easy to do without a firm regulation of the industry.

OTHER REGULATORY ISSUES



There are also numerous other regulatory matters that round out theconfusion. Mostly, they involve a lack of regulation in areas suchas:* Food, health and safety regulations;* Fire or disability access regulations; and* The requirement for public liability insurance.***What do you think about Airbnb’s current ambiguous legal status inAustralia? Let us know your thoughts on LegalVision’s Twitter twitter.com

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com.au considered whether Airbnb was a sublease or licence. In this case, a
landlord, Ms Swan (landlord), owned a two bedroom apartment in landlord, Ms Swan (landlord), owned a two bedroom apartment inMelbourne (apartment) which she leased to the tenants Uecker & Greaves(tenants) in August 2015 for a 12-month lease (lease).The tenants then listed the apartment on Airbnb to third party guestsfor short-term stays. The landlord upon discovery initiatedproceedings because the tenants had sublet the apartment unlawfully tothird parties without the landlord’s consent.At first instance, in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal(VCAT), it was held that the tenants only granted licences rather thanleases to the Airbnb guests com.au As such, the VCAT ruled that the tenants had not sublet the apartment.However, the Supreme Court overturned the original VCAT decision,deciding that the tenants had let the whole apartment and that it wasa sublease rather than a licence. This sublease was considered abreach of the tenant’s lease which prohibited subleasing.This case considered the narrow issue of subleasing and that thelandlord’s consent was required. It did not consider whether Airbnbitself was illegal. In fact, a test case may be difficult given thediffering laws between Australian states and territories and withinlocal government areas.

IS AIRBNB LEGAL IN AUSTRALIA?



Posted September 13, 2016Web-based sharing sites and apps like eBay, Uber and AIRBNB haverevolutionised the way in which we use and sell goods and services.Rather than a straight transaction with a seller and a buyer and nointermediary, these sites do not sell anything at all. Rather, theyintroduce a person wanting to sell with a person wanting to buy. Theparties then conduct the transaction between themselves. Thesedisruptive matchmakers are currently testing the limits ofAustralia’s existing legal and regulatory framework. This articleunpacks the different facets of the way our current laws are fallingshort of interfacing with the new breed of disruptors, using Airbnb com.au as an example.

“RE-RENTING” A RENTED PROPERTY ON AIRBNB



According to Victoria’s Department of Consumer Affairs, if you rentyour property from someone else, you need written consent from yourlandlord if you want to list it (or part of it) on Airbnb.When you rent out a room through Airbnb, you’re technically offering
a short term sub-let agreement, which in some states requires a tenancy agreement. A confusing aspect of Airbnb is that regulationsare still being made and can differ from state to state. Consider therisks involved before listing your property, or talk to your landlordor real estate agency first. You’ll also need to check your rentalagreement or lease plus Body Corporate laws if you live in anapartment complex. THIS IS SERIOUS STUFF – don’t just ignore it ortry to be sneaky by re-renting property on Airbnb; you could get intoa lot of trouble!

EXTRA INCOME MEANS EXTRA TAXES TO PAY AT YEAR-END



WARNING: When you add a new source of income like Airbnb, don’t justtreat that income as spending money.Why not spend all your Airbnb income? Because earning that extraincome means you’ll be charged more tax by the ATO at the end of theyear. It is important to save some of what you earn through Airbnb soyou can pay the ATO at tax time.Don’t just save a few dollars!In the first year when you top-up your income with untaxed earningsfrom Airbnb and other types of ‘side businesses’, you might needto save as much as 30 or 40 per cent of your new earnings for tax! Theamount depends on the total income you earn and the amount of taxdeducted from your other income sources. Your tax agent can help youpredict the right amount you should save for the “tax man.”[Airbnb tax deductions and Airbnb tax expenses are important for hoststo consider]Renting out that spare room or property on Airbnb canbring in some useful extra cash – plus you can meet nice,interesting people. But be careful about your Airbnb tax obligationsand tax benefits – there is a lot to gain, or a lot to lose.

AIRBNB TAX BENEFITS



Renting a room out of your existing property does create some incomeand tax perks.You can claim expenses and depreciation for the percentage of the areaof your house that was rented, for the duration someone was paying.Airbnb tax advantages can include properly-calculated portions of…* Internet and phone costs* Water, power and council rates* Upkeep and repairs* Depreciation on the cost of furnishings and equipment* Interest on your mortgageThose can add up to a decent set of tax deductions for Airbnb hosts.You’ll need to keep a record of when the room was actually rented inorder to correctly claim expenses, but for a regular Airbnb host, itoften pays off.

AIRBNB AND THE AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE



Hosts on Airbnb must declare their rental income to the ATO and if theannual amount earned is greater than $75,000 per year the host mustregister for GST. There are several excellent sources of informationdedicated to this:* Accounting firm Sansdesk provides an in-depth tax guidespecifically aimed at Airbnb hosts .com.au * The ATO has a specific section dedicated to tax advice businesspart of the sharing economy .gov.au Using these guidelines there are three scenarios where you may beeligible to claim a tax deduction:* Hosts who rent their entire premises on an occasional basis (e.g.when they’re away or on holiday) to make income on the side.* Overseas investors who rent out their entire property locallythrough Airbnb.Those who rent out a spare room through Airbnb in a home they residein. In this instance they may only be eligible if they can provideevidence that they attempted to rent out the room at a commercialrate.Airbnb recently joined forces with global tax services provider H & RBlock in an agreement to ensure that sufficient tax guidance and tipsare provided to hosts on the platform.





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