Airbnb: Master Tax Challenges and Maximise Deductions

Stay ahead of the curve with expert advice on overcoming tax challenges and leveraging deductions to keep your Airbnb business thriving.


As we move into the new tax year, Airbnb property owners in Australia face a complex and ever-evolving landscape. Regulatory changes, tax complications, and economic uncertainties are creating a perfect storm of challenges. These factors threaten the viability and profitability of short-term rental investments. Airbnb hosts are faced with navigating the intricacies of tax apportionment for properties that are part of a home residence, dealing with the financial unpredictability of seasonal demand, and heightened competition. Additionally, the intensified scrutiny of short-term rentals for exacerbating the housing crisis has led to stricter regulations.

In this article, we’ll delve into the multifaceted tax issues and economic threats facing Airbnb owners today. Our goal is to highlight the severity and impact of these problems, as well as provide education on how to maximise tax deductions and navigate the complex tax landscape effectively. By understanding these challenges and exploring strategies to mitigate them, you can better position yourself for success and sustainability in an increasingly regulated and competitive market.

Owning an Airbnb can generate extra income, but it comes with challenges. As an Airbnb host in Australia, you face a maze of tax rules and economic hurdles. The good news? With some know-how, you can navigate these obstacles and maximise your tax deductions. Let’s explore how you can make the most of your Airbnb investment.

Understanding Depreciation

Think of your property as a goose laying golden eggs. Over time, the goose gets older and needs more care. This is where depreciation comes in. You can depreciate the construction cost of your Airbnb property over 40 years. This allows you to deduct a portion of the building’s value each year, reducing your taxable income. A quantity surveyor can help you produce a detailed tax report to ensure you’re claiming the maximum depreciation.

Every piece of furniture and appliance in your Airbnb, from the comfy sofa to the kitchen fridge, has a lifespan. Typically, you can depreciate these items over about 10 years. Keep all your receipts. They’re your best friends when it comes to substantiating your claims.

Airbnb Operating Expenses: The Day-to-Day Costs

Running an Airbnb involves various costs, and many of these are deductible. Let’s break down some common expenses:

Airbnb Fees & Commissions

Deduct the fees you pay to Airbnb for listing and managing your property. It’s a straightforward deduction but often overlooked.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Keeping your property spick and span for guests is crucial. Deduct expenses for cleaning between stays, maintaining the garden, and handling minor repairs. Think of it as getting a small reward for keeping your space guest-ready.


If you cover the cost of utilities like electricity, water, and gas, you can deduct these expenses based on the percentage of time your property is rented out. Share the burden of those utility bills with the tax office.


Deduct your property insurance premiums. It’s another way to lighten the load of your operating expenses.

Loan Interest

If you took out a loan to buy or renovate your Airbnb property, deduct the interest on that loan. This can be a significant saving, especially if you’re dealing with a substantial mortgage.

Loan Application & Establishment Fees

These fees might seem like a one-off hit to your pocket, but you can deduct them too, depending on ATO regulations.

Digging Deeper: Other Airbnb Potential Deductions

If you’ve hired a property manager to take care of your Airbnb, deduct their fees. This could be a lifesaver, especially if managing the property yourself feels overwhelming.

Do you need to travel to your property for maintenance or improvements? Claim some of these travel expenses. Just make sure you follow the ATO’s guidelines to ensure these claims are legitimate.

Are you spending money on advertising your Airbnb listing? Deduct these costs. This helps you get more eyes on your property without bearing the full financial burden.

Even the little things add up. Deduct expenses for office supplies, as well as a portion of your phone and internet bills if used for managing Airbnb. Keep records of your usage to back up your claims.

Deduct subscriptions to services like scheduling software or guest communication platforms used for managing your Airbnb. These tools can streamline your operations and save you money at tax time.

Keeping Track of Your Expenses

Good record-keeping is key to maximising your deductions. Here are some tips:

Maintain a separate bank account for your Airbnb income and expenses. This makes it easier to track everything and provides clear records.

Keep all receipts for at least five years after lodging your tax return. They’re your proof if the tax office ever comes knocking.

Take photos of your property and its contents. This can help substantiate your claims and provide a clear record of your assets.

Paying Family Members

Paying family members to help with your Airbnb can be legitimate. The ATO allows this as long as it’s a genuine business expense. Here’s what you need to know:

Pay your family members a reasonable wage for the work they do. Look at local market rates for similar services to guide you.

Have written agreements, maintain timesheets, and keep proof of payment. This ensures your claims are above board and reduces the risk of ATO scrutiny.

Apportioning Expenses

Separating personal and business expenses can be tricky. Here’s how to do it effectively:

Calculate the percentage of your home used for Airbnb and apply this percentage to shared expenses like home loan interest and utility bills.

If you have separate metres for utilities, directly claim the usage billed for your Airbnb.

For shared services like internet and phone, track the portion used for your Airbnb business and claim accordingly.

ATO Focus

The ATO doesn’t have a specific focus on Airbnb this tax time (May 2024) in terms of increased scrutiny or targeting them for audits. However, they are reminding taxpayers renting out properties on platforms like Airbnb about their tax obligations.

Here’s what the ATO is currently focused on regarding Airbnb:

  • Ensuring Income is Declared: The ATO is reminding Airbnb hosts to declare all income earned from renting out their property. This includes income from the rental itself and any additional services offered, like meals or airport transfers.
  • Record Keeping: The ATO emphasises the importance of keeping good records for income and expenses related to your Airbnb rental. This will help you accurately calculate your tax deductions.
  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT): While your main residence is generally exempt from CGT, renting it out on Airbnb may change that. The ATO reminds taxpayers to understand how CGT applies if they use their home for income generation.

For more information, you can refer to the ATO website: ATO Tax Time Information

Navigating the tax landscape as an Airbnb host can be daunting. With careful planning and excellent record-keeping, you can maximise your deductions and ensure your investment remains profitable. Always consult with a tax professional to tailor these strategies to your specific situation. At Eclipse, we offer guidance to optimise and comply with all claims.

Understanding and utilising these tips will help you better manage your Airbnb business and navigate the complexities of the Australian tax system. Happy hosting!


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