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Judge denies Hawaii’s move to get Airbnb host records

HONOLULU — A judge on Thursday denied Hawaii’s move to compel Airbnb to hand over a decade of vacation rental receipts as the state examines whether hosts have been paying the equivalent of hotel and sales taxes.

Hawaii First Circuit Court Judge James Ashford said the state didn’t sufficiently show that Airbnb users may have failed to comply with tax laws.

In addition, the state didn’t establish that the information wasn’t available from other sources, he said.

Hawaii wants the records to find out which hosts haven’t been paying taxes involving their vacation rental and bed-and-breakfast listings.

Airbnb has argued the subpoena amounts to an unprecedented, “massive intrusion” into the private data of 16,000 hosts. Subpoenaing the records would violate state and federal law, the company said.

Hawaii is the latest state to tangle with Airbnb. In New York City, a U.S. judge last month shelved a city law that would have required home-sharing platforms to reveal hosts’ names and other information.

New York City adopted the law so it could crack down on illegal listings and impose fines.

In that case, a U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer ruled that forcing home-sharing platforms to reveal a “breathtaking” amount of information about their businesses seemed unconstitutional. He issued a preliminary injunction halting implementation of the law.
Source: The Garden Island

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