Airbnb Makes Tax Deals Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine

Recently, a former executive director of the Multistate Tax Commission with more than 40 years in tax administration looked into Airbnb’s secret tax deals with cities across the country.

Surprise, surprise: He found the results “unsettling.”

In an op-ed for The Hill, Dan Bucks writes: “Despite their best efforts to keep the tax agreements secret, about a dozen of them have become public. It’s easy to see why Airbnb did not want the sun to shine on what they were negotiating with government officials behind closed doors.”

Sounds like the Airbnb we know.

Bucks’ report states that Airbnb’s tax deals, which the company has branded with the innocuous designation “voluntary collection agreements” (VCAs), are nothing of the sort.

“These secret agreements are, in fact, filled with wide-ranging special rules benefitting Airbnb and its lodging operators, known as ‘hosts.’”

We agree with Bucks that state and local tax agencies need to stop signing Airbnb’s so-called VCAs and that those deals should be subject to public disclosure and scrutiny.

Sunshine Laws are in place for a reason: to prevent shady dealings and protect the public’s trust. So why should a $30 billion company be entitled to special treatment?