On September 11th, 2017, the short-term rent tax effectively came into force in Italy. Such new policy is applicable to the rent contracts stipulated by private individuals both directly and indirectly, i.e. through real estates intermediaries, also operating on online platforms (for instance, Airbnb).
The new provision is extremely relevant for both landlords and tourists. It is worth noting, in this respect, that in 2015 more than 3,6 million people booked their accommodation in Italy through Airbnb, and that Italy is actually the third destination worldwide as for number of housing options available on the online platform.
In details, the new fiscal policy shall apply to short term-rentals (i.e., for periods of less than 30 days) for residential use, including those offering further services like cleaning and supply of linen. The tax is calculated on the gross amount of the rent and the tax rate is set at 21%.
Where the contract is stipulated though intermediaries, including those operating online, they will assume the role of withholding agents. This means that the intermediator itself will levy the withholding tax and transfer it to the Italian Revenue Agency in lieu of the landlord. The landlord, therefore, will directly receive the amount of the rent after tax.
The intermediaries connecting people looking for accommodation with people offering buildings or rooms to rent, including those operating online, will furthermore have to comunicate to the Italian revenue agency, in timely fashion, all the information relating to the stipulated contracts, and failure to do so might lead to a penalty ranging from 250 to 2500 Euros. The Italian revenue agency will also conclude conventions with the brand owners of online intermediary platforms, in order to define the forms of cooperation for the control of the contracts concluded thought such platforms.
A remarkable aspect for tourists is the fact that intermediaries shall be withholding agents for the tourist tax. Such tax, different from the one on short-term rents, is applicable in selected tourist places and art towns, and shall be paid by the visitor. For instance, in the municipality of Rome, every visitor staying in town shall pay a tourist tax, varying on the basis of the kind of accommodation chosen from 3 euros/day/person to 7 euros/day/person (up to a maximum of 10 overnight stays).
In practical terms, this means that when the tourist/visitor makes a reservation (e.g. online, trough Airbnb) it will pay the overall price, including the tourist tax when applicable, directly to Airbnb. The company shall then transfer the tourist tax to the competent authorities (e.g., the municipality of Rome), and withdrawn from the rent to be paid to the landlord the tax on short-term rents, which will be then transferred to the Italian revenue agency.
For any further information about the short-term rents, please write to: email@example.com