City surprised by Airbnb tax

A recently announced tax on Airbnb rentals in B.C. came as a complete surprise to the City of Kelowna, and city planners are still trying to calculate its potential impact.

Last week, the province announced plans for a law allowing Airbnb to collect an 11 per cent tax on the government’s behalf.

Doug Gilchrist, a community planning director with the city, said the news came as a complete surprise.

“We didn’t know this was coming from the province, so we’ve been playing a little bit of catch up,” he said.

However, Gilchrist says the tax will mean new revenue for the city.

“From our perspective, there may be an opportunity to use that tax revenue for some council priorities in our community, (but) I don’t know how much that will be, or if there will be limitations on how it can be used.”

For more on how the Airbnb tax could affect the city, as well as why it's so tough to calculate how many operators there are in Kelowna, check out the full story on Castanet's sister business news website, Okanagan Edge.

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