The "Sharing" Economy: Issues Facing Platforms, Participants, and Regulators A Federal Trade Commission Workshop
As a long time owner of LEGAL vacation rentals, cabins and lodges, I have no issue of owners and property managers operating legal businesses. The emergence of web technologies and sharing enablers such as Airbnb and Uber has made it increasing easy for people to start up a business. This ease has unfortunately also increased the likelihood that businesses/owners are not following the laws. These laws include not only tax collection, licensing but also commercial insurance requirements to protect guests and owners. I am also a board member of a regional tourism association that benefits from the collection of lodging taxes collected by legal business. I chair our ethics committee that ensures our members remain in good standing with the association, compliant with local codes and laws. The increase in the "sharing economy" enablers has made it very difficult to audit for compliance and enforcement by local governments is cost prohibitive. Once "legal" businesses have elected to go underground via the use of Airbnb and others in order to increase their profit margins while also increasing risk to our visitors. Many also fail to report this type of income on their personal income tax, so the impact to govt revenues is significant! So... I think it is very simple, we must have all following the same rules. No additional federal, state or local legislation is needed, just enforcement of already existing laws.