How is Airbnb Rental Income is Taxed

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Understanding tax obligations is crucial for Airbnb hosts to avoid potential legal issues and financial penalties. Properly managing taxes ensures compliance with local, state, and federal regulations, thereby protecting hosts from unexpected liabilities. Additionally, being aware of deductible expenses can significantly reduce the overall tax burden, maximizing the profitability of rental income.

How to report short term rental income on tax returns

Personal Income

  • Tax Form: Schedule E (Supplemental Income and Loss) of Form 1040.
  • Income Reporting: List the total rental income received.
  • Deductible Expenses: Include expenses like maintenance, utilities, and insurance.
  • Special Rule: If the property is rented out for less than 15 days in a year, the income is generally not taxable, and the expenses are not deductible.

Sole Proprietor

  • Tax Form: Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business) of Form 1040.
  • Income Reporting: Report the total rental income received.
  • Deductible Expenses: Include business-related expenses such as maintenance, utilities, insurance, and marketing costs.
  • Self-Employment Tax: Income may be subject to self-employment tax which is 15.3%.


  • Tax Form: Form 1120 (U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return) for a C corporation or Form 1120S for an S corporation.
  • Income Reporting: Include the total rental income received by the corporation.
  • Deductible Expenses: Deduct business-related expenses, including maintenance, utilities, insurance, salaries, and other operational costs.
  • Corporate Tax Rate: Income is taxed at the corporate tax rate which is 21% for C corps, and for S corporations, income is passed through to shareholders and reported on their personal tax returns.

Deductible Expenses

Deductible expenses for Airbnb hosts include ordinary and necessary costs such as maintenance, utilities, and insurance, which reduce taxable rental income and lower tax burdens. Common deductions cover repairs, electricity, water, property insurance, management fees, cleaning services, and advertising costs. Accurately tracking and reporting these expenses requires maintaining detailed records, using accounting software, and organizing receipts and invoices to simplify tax preparation and ensure compliance.


Property depreciation allows Airbnb hosts to recover the cost of their rental property over time by deducting a portion of its value each year from their taxable income. To calculate depreciation, hosts need to determine the property's basis (usually the purchase price plus any improvements), allocate the cost between land and building, and then apply the IRS's Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) over a 27.5-year period for residential rental properties. Depreciation reduces taxable income, lowering the overall tax liability, but it must be recaptured and taxed when the property is sold.

Local and State Taxes

Airbnb hosts must be aware of local and state taxes, such as occupancy or lodging taxes, which vary by location. Checking local regulations is crucial to avoid fines or legal issues. For example, California requires a Transient Occupancy Tax, while New York has specific registration and reporting rules. Staying informed ensures compliance and avoids unexpected liabilities.

Special Considerations

Renting a portion of your home can complicate expense deductions, as only the rental area’s expenses are deductible. Part-time rentals may qualify for different tax treatments, potentially reducing the amount of deductible expenses compared to full-time rentals. Hosts renting multiple properties must report income and expenses for each property separately, maintaining detailed records for accurate tax reporting. Consult with a tax professional to manage these variables to ensure compliance and optimize tax benefits.

Reveal your property’s rental profitability

Buy this property and list it on Airbnb.