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Rental tax to be introduced

Crystal Caesar, PLP senator (File photograph)

A tax on Airbnb-style holiday rental homes was approved by senators yesterday.

The Vacations Rental Act 2018 will introduce a 4.5 per cent tax, which is expected to generate up to $750,000 for the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

Crystal Caesar, Progressive Labour Party senator, said the number of homes registered with Airbnb has doubled in the year since an agreement with the company was signed.

Ms Caesar said the tax would be collected by the vacation rental site at the time of booking.

Justin Mathias, One Bermuda Alliance senator, said his party supported the Bill.

He added vacation rentals gave visitors a better understanding of the local culture, but he questioned how the funds would be collected and how it would affect the rental market.

Mr Mathias said: “We have a problem with supply and demand when it comes to apartments and affordable housing.

“What does that do to the availability for those Bermudians who rent and need affordable accommodations?”

Andrew Simons, a OBA senator, added: “People can earn more for a week or two-week long rental than they can from a tenant.”

James Jardine, an independent senator, said the rate seemed to be fair and reasonable and implementation will be phased in to avoid taxing people who have already made bookings.