Date posted: 10/11/2020 3 min read

GST implications of using Airbnbs for business travel

The rise of Airbnbs and similar home-sharing platforms have created more options for business travel. But what happens when the platform doesn’t issue a valid GST invoice?

In Brief

  • When short-stay accommodation hosts are required to register for GST
  • Section 24(1) of NZ’s Goods and Services Act 1985 states a GST registered person must provide a tax invoice within 28 days
  • Other considerations

The rise of Airbnbs and similar home sharing platforms have dramatically changed how we travel in recent years.

Apart from the more personal feel of staying in an often fully equipped home, part of the appeal of staying in privately run short-stay accommodation is the cost. However, for a business to claim accommodation expenses, a GST invoice is required.

What happens when using a home-sharing platform such as Airbnb?

Airbnb’s platform connects the guest with the host – so the receipt a guest receives from Airbnb is typically for administrative services only – not the accommodation. Airbnb suggests guests should contact the host directly for the tax information required.

There’re two sides to this story. First, if the host hasn’t registered for GST you won’t be charged GST. This normally means you won’t be able to claim GST.

Inland Revenue recently released extensive guidance on the tax treatment of short-stay accommodation which assists the hosts in determining their tax obligations.

One of the documents in this series outlines when the host can or is required to register for GST and confirms that short-stay accommodation is taxable supplies. QB 19/09 states that provided the host has a taxable activity of continuously or regularly supplying short-stay accommodation, the host can register for GST. This becomes compulsory when supply exceeds – or is likely to exceed – NZ$60,000 in any 12-month period.

Section 24(1) of the Goods and Services Act 1985 states a GST registered person must provide a tax invoice within 28 days if requested.

Second, if you need to request a GST invoice, Section 24(1) of the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985 states that a GST registered person must provide a tax invoice within 28 days if requested. A tax invoice must show the following information:

  • the words 'tax invoice' in a prominent place
  • the name (or trade name) and GST number of the seller
  • the date of issue
  • a description of the goods or services. (and the quantity & volume)
  • the name and address of the recipient
  • the price and GST amount.

While typically a minor component of the cost of the accommodation – Airbnb and similar platforms often charge a service fee for connecting guests with hosts, or a cleaning fee. While it’s preferable to have records – a tax invoice isn’t required for less than NZ$50. It’s worth remembering that the total cost of the trip might not just be accommodation.

Information for Hosts when registering for GST 

Inland Revenue recently released a series of useful guidance for those providing short-stay accommodation.

Read more

Claiming GST

Inland Revenue’s guidance for claiming GST.

Read more

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