DOT wants to regulate Airbnb lodgings

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is considering regulating bookings made through home-sharing app Airbnb.

"We're proposing through the LGUs (local government units) that they be regulated because they operate without a business license," Tourism Undersecretary Art Boncato said in the DOT's budget hearing at the Senate on Monday, September 30.

Senator Richard Gordon asked whether the DOT would want the upper chamber to craft a law to allow such a move.

Boncato replied yes, adding, "Aside from taxation, we'll be able to track tourism data."

Airbnb is an online platform where property owners can rent out their houses, apartments, and condominium units for short-term or long-term lodgings.

Under the Tax Code, percentage tax is imposed on real estate, treating the lease of property as a "service."

Residential units leased for less than P15,000 are exempted from value-added tax of 12% under Section 34 of Republic Act No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law.

But there are no specific laws requiring "hosts," or owners of properties rented out on Airbnb, to pay taxes to the government.

In a report by The Freeman in August, hoteliers called on the government to regulate Airbnb. Philippine Hotel Owners Association board member Arthur Gindap told the news outlet that doing so would ensure a "level playing field" in the hospitality industry. –

You can still book the best lodging deals with this Airbnb promo.

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.