Inland Revenue (IRD) is currently consulting on tax obligations that arise on various forms of residential rental, such as renting out a room within your home, or letting property using a peer-to-peer platform, such as Airbnb or Bookabach.

One of the proposed changes relates to the ‘standard cost’ rules for boarders or home-stay students. Currently, income earned below the threshold of $266 a week for the first two boarders and $218 per week for each subsequent boarder, is tax free and doesn’t need to be included in a tax return. IRD propose to reduce this weekly threshold to $183 per boarder (subject to annual CPI adjustments). Or, taxpayers can elect to return all income and expenses relating to boarders in their tax return, which may be favourable if they incur considerable costs.

A similar rule is also proposed for taxpayers providing short-stay accommodation in their own home (e.g. Airbnb), by setting standard nightly costs for deductions, with income above the standard cost needing to be declared. The suggested thresholds are $50 a night for homeowners, and $45 where the host is renting their home. However, there will be various criteria to use this concession, for example a rental limit of 100 nights per year.

Renting out a property that is also used privately is currently a complex tax area, so changes to simplify the regime are welcome.