An urgent matter

An urgent matter

The explanation given by caretaker Finance Minister Ardwell Irion regarding talks with Airbnb (see related story) during this week’s budget debate in the Central Committee of Parliament seems plausible enough. The vacation rental platform is concerned over being singled out for taxation purposes and lack of compliance control, giving competitors an unfair advantage.

They asked to review relevant local laws and offered to assist in establishing “holistic” vacation rental legislation. The outgoing minister did complain about them being “a bit slow” in responding, also to other islands facing the same issues.

That begs the question whether stalling tactics are involved. After all, another high season is ending and so far years of efforts to have persons earning money with short-term rentals contribute a reasonable share to the country’s collective burden proved mostly in vain, going back to the botched so-called “condo tax” in which retroactive tax assessments were sent out to mainly non-resident property owners for presumed rental income that could not be substantiated.

Although similar online providers like, VRBO and Expedia should indeed be subject to the same regulations, this cannot take forever either. Irion mentioned applications allowing fiscal authorities to identify units on the market and even determine their rates, but added that tackling these cases individually would require a lot of manpower.

However, he also said 2023 has already seen an increase in room tax by 4 million Netherlands Antillean guilders and perhaps technology might be available to further facilitate approaching such landlords in a comprehensive yet less labour-intensive way. Certainly for more traditional hotels and resorts, levelling that playing field at least somewhat remains an an urgent matter.


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