"But we do want them to pay tourism taxes," Schotte said. Tourism tax has to be paid by accommodation owners when they rent to non-Amsterdam citizens, Schotte said. The tourism tax in Amsterdam is 5.5 percent of a business' lodging turnover, not including breakfast.
Individuals in Amsterdam are allowed to rent out homes they own as bed-and-breakfasts (B&Bs) if they abide by certain rules. The B&B, for instance, must be registered with the city in advance, can accommodate a maximum of four people, the person renting the home must keep business records and only 40 percent of the floor area of the house can be used for B&B activities.
Airbnb has said it was willing to start informing site users about Amsterdam's renting rules, according to Schotte. Airbnb could, for instance, show pop-ups warning renters they should pay tourism taxes, he added. The city is -- for the moment -- not planning to enforce this mandatory taxation for individual renters, he said.
"We don't want a to create a jungle of rules," Schotte said, adding that the city is looking for ways to deal with this relatively new "social traveling" phenomenon and therefore initiated the talks with Airbnb.
Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org