PANAJI: An association under the banner of Indian Legal Hotel’s Association has written a complaint letter to the Chief Minister of Goa and the taxation authorities on the illegal operations of some properties as hotel rooms on Airbnb.
In a press note issued here by one Deepike N says, she is writing to express grave concerns about the unlawful operations of certain properties listed on Airbnb in Goa. “These properties not only lack proper identification boards, but they also fail to display necessary GST and labor tax certificates. Such blatant disregard for regulations raises questions about how these businesses can operate in such a manner,” the letter says.
Further, it says, it has come to attention that these illegal operations are causing significant financial losses to local hotels in Goa.
Furthermore, it adds, the presence of these illegal properties is fostering illegal activities, and it is concerning that law enforcement may mistake them for legitimate hotels.
“A crucial point to highlight is the absence of digital name boards for these villas or apartments. The lack of clear identification makes it exceptionally challenging for law enforcement to distinguish between legitimate hotels and these illegal Airbnb listings, especially when they are located within residential areas,” the association claims.
“I would like to emphasize that all Airbnb properties should adhere to regulations and should only be situated in residential areas. The blatant disregard for these rules not only affects the reputation of Goa as a tourist destination but also poses a threat to the safety and security of our community,” the association adds.
Additionally, it reads, there is need to highlight that the turnover of Airbnb properties in Goa last year, conducted illegally, amounted to a staggering 350 crores.
“This figure underscores the magnitude of this issue and the urgency with which it must be addressed. I implore you to take strict action against these illegal operations, ensuring that they comply with all relevant regulations, including proper identification boards, GST, and labor tax certificates. It is essential to preserve the integrity of our local hotel industry and maintain law and order in our community,” the association says.
“Furthermore, it is critical to address the challenge of distinguishing between commercial and residential properties. The responsibility for identifying the nature of a property – whether it is residential or commercial – should fall upon the relevant authorities, including local zoning departments, and it should be a collaborative effort between multiple government agencies. This joint effort is crucial to prevent the illegal operation of commercial activities in residential zones,” it says.
Moreover, it continues, given the substantial turnover of approximately 350 crores in tax revenue lost due to illegal Airbnb operations in Goa last year, I strongly urge for a thorough and comprehensive tax audit of all Airbnb properties in the region. Such an audit is necessary to ensure that these properties are paying their rightful taxes, adhering to GST regulations, and contributing their fair share to the local economy. A transparent and rigorous audit process will not only help recover lost revenue but also deter illegal activities and promote fairness within the industry.”
This addition underscores the importance of cooperation between government agencies in identifying property types and highlights the necessity of a tax audit to address the tax evasion issues associated with Airbnb properties.