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Costa Rica Taxes and Regulates AirBnB

by rpetersen
Costa Rica Taxes Airbnb

Costa Rica will tax and regulate Airbnb.  The Costa Rican legislature has approved a bill that regulates non-traditional hosting services, such as Airbnb. Legislative bill number 20,865 titled as the Law for the Regularization of Non-Traditional Hosting through Digital Platforms had 40 votes in favor of it. The intent of the law is to tax AirBnB services. It would also impose additional requirements on the property owners to comply with regulations from the Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) and to ensure that their facilities are compliant with the Costa Rican disability protection law (Law 7600).
According to data from AirBnB the hosts in Costa Rica catered to 524,000 guests in 2018. It is estimated that 9.2% of tourists to Costa Rica will use a hosting platform to book their stay. The law will force hosts to register with the Tourism Institute (ICT) and to pay the 13% V.A.T. (Value added Tax).
The Hotel Lobbying Association (
Cámara Costarricense Hoteles) has argued for years for the need of this legislation to level the playing field for hotel owners competing with digital platforms such as AirBnB.    The Hotel Association has long argued that platforms such as AirBnB which allow hosts to operate without any licenses, permits and witout paying taxes creates unfair competition on hotel owners who must bear the burden of more regulation and taxes for operating.

Just recently some Europoean cities, Amsterdam, Barcelona, ​​Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia and Vienna, have requested that the European parliment take action to regulate the housing platforms that are affecting the affordability and availability of housing in their cities.

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davidahlers December 18, 2019 - 5:13 pm

I am building a casita and planning to list it on AirBnb to keep it occupied when we are not in Costa Rica. However, I’m concerned that this new law may require the house to be accessibility compliant – which is difficult to do for a small bathroom and a 2nd floor with stairs. Do you know what accessibility rules may be required of AirBnb’s?

rpetersen December 28, 2019 - 9:46 pm

The law indicates that the renter must specify if the property is compliant with the Costa Rican disability law or not. The it exempts compliance for those properties that are being rented which are part of the property where the owner lives as well. Here is the exact spanish wording from the law on that matter.

ARTÍCULO 15- Excepción de aplicación de la Ley N.º 7600, Igualdad de
Oportunidades para las Personas con Discapacidad
Se exceptúan de la aplicación del capítulo IV de la Ley N.º 7600, Igualdad de
Oportunidades para las Personas con Discapacidad, de 2 de mayo de 1996, los
inmuebles utilizados en el servicio de hospedaje no tradicional, inscritos en el
Registro de prestatarios del servicio de hospedaje no tradicional, del Instituto
Costarricense de Turismo (ICT), siempre y cuando estos inmuebles sean parte de
la vivienda habitada por el prestatario del servicio de hospedaje no tradicional.

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