Tax Treatment for short term rentals e.g. through online accommodation booking sites





Yesterday, Revenue eBrief No. 59/18 was published.


This comprehensive nine page document outlines the tax treatment for income arising from the provision of short-term accommodation:


short term letting is defined as a letting of all or part of a house, apartment or other similar establishment:

– to a tourist, holidaymaker or other visitor
– for a period which does not exceed or is unlikely to exceed 8 consecutive weeks


There are a number of different circumstances which will be covered by this new guidance material including

(i) persons staying in hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, hostels, etc.,
(ii) persons either sharing a property with the owner or occupying the whole property for a short period of stay or
(iii) persons occupying self-catering holiday accommodation for short periods


If your rental income meets the criteria outlined in this document, you could be looking at an obligation to register for VAT depending on your turnover as well compliance obligations under Cases I or IV Schedule D.  In addition to the annual tax on the rental profits and the potential VAT exposure, you could encounter a Capital Gains Tax liability on the sale of the property generating this rental income which might otherwise have been tax exempt.


This document has clarified situations where Rent-a-Room Relief will not be available.  Specifically if you are someone who rents out one or more rooms in your home through online accommodation booking sites you will not be entitled to the Rent-a-Room Relief.  Instead you may be treated as if you are carrying on a trade with an obligation to register and account for Income Tax and/or VAT.


If you provide short term rentals to tourists, guests or visitors where the room or property is available for rent on a regular or frequent basis with a view to making a profit and involves you, the owner, carrying out some or all of  the following activities then you may be deemed to be carrying on a trade and if so, this document is relevant to you:

  1. Advertising the property online on accommodation booking websites
  2. Dealing with booking enquiries, reservations and payments
  3. Arranging for cleaning, laundry and maintenance during and between lets
  4. Providing meals
  5. Providing information to visitors about local tourist attractions, restaurants etc.
  6. paying staff to provide such services, etc.


According to this document:

“The provision of traditional short-term guest accommodation in hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs and hostels will generally constitute a trade. Persons who provide short-term guest accommodation, either in their home or in another property owned by them, will only be trading to the extent the activity is sufficiently frequent and regular and is carried on a commercial basis and with a view to the realisation of profit.”


If you are renting out a room in your own home or an entire property using an online accommodation booking site and you are unsure of the correct tax treatment pertaining to your situation, why not contact us to discuss the matter further.

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