Start an LLC for Airbnb (Free Guide)

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by How to Start an LLC Team
Last updated: June 22nd, 2024

If you’ve found success as an Airbnb host you might want to consider starting an LLC for your Airbnb. This could be key to protecting your assets and maximizing tax benefits.

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While Airbnb offers valuable benefits, forming an LLC fills critical gaps. Combining Airbnb’s platform with the structural advantages of an LLC maximizes both protection and efficiency for your rental property business.

Benefits of using Airbnb

  • Host liability insurance: Airbnb provides hosts with $1 million in liability coverage through its Host liability insurance program. This coverage protects hosts if guests get injured or their belongings are damaged or stolen during their stay.
  • Host damage protection: Airbnb’s Host damage protection program offers hosts up to $3 million in coverage for damage to their property or belongings caused by guests during their stay. This coverage extends lost income due to cancellations resulting from damage.
  • Simplified tax collection: Airbnb has agreements in place with local and state governments to collect and remit taxes on behalf of hosts.
  • Access to a large marketplace: By listing your home on Airbnb, you gain access to a network of millions of potential guests. Airbnb’s platform and marketing efforts help connect hosts with travelers from around the world, increasing visibility and potentially boosting your occupancy rates.

Why form an LLC for Airbnb

By default, if you are a single Airbnb owner, your business structure is a sole proprietorship. The next level up is forming an LLC.

  • Limited liability: LLCs provide personal liability protection to the owners. This means that if a company faces legal issues, the owner’s personal assets (like cars and houses) are protected.

Imagine John has a series of Airbnbs that he rents out as a sole proprietorship. If a guest falls and injures themselves at a property and wants to sue for more than the $1 million in liability insurance that Airbnb offers, John’s personal belongings would be at risk. But if John forms an LLC, only business assets owned by the LLC would be at risk.

  • Tax flexibility: LLCs offer a choice in how they are taxed, providing the potential for tax savings. By default, an LLC is taxed as a pass-through entity, with profits and losses reported on the owner’s tax return, avoiding double taxation. This provides a simple and easy way to file taxes. However, electing to be taxed as an S corporation can help reduce the owner’s self-employment tax burden, but filing as an S corp is more complicated.
  • Financial separation: Since an LLC is its own business entity, the business can open a bank account. This can create a clear division between personal and business finances.

As a sole proprietor, John used his personal account for Airbnb transactions, which made it difficult to track business expenses and income. After forming an LLC, John opened a business bank account under the LLC’s name, which clearly segregated his personal and business finances.

Drawbacks of an LLC

  • Costs: Forming an LLC involves some costs. These fees include state filing fees, annual reporting fees and potential legal costs of drawing up paperwork. These costs may be justifiable for those who earn the majority of their income from Airbnb, but for those who host occasionally, these costs may outstrip the income brought in.

How to start an LLC for Airbnb

Choose a business name

Choose a name that is memorable for potential guests. Check with your state’s secretary of state website or business registry to make sure the name is available. Think about incorporating words like “vacation rentals” or “stays” into your company name to quickly let potential customers know what your business is all about.

Choose a registered agent

A registered agent is a person who receives legal documents on behalf of your business and your main point of contact with the state. You can act as your own registered agent if you have an address in the state where you are setting your business up, or you can hire a professional service.

For Airbnb hosts, hiring a professional registered agent service is a good option. They provide an added layer of privacy, as your personal address is kept off public records.

  • Same day filing service
  • Affordable pricing
  • Strict ethical code
  • Set up LLC without hassle
  • Take you through all steps
  • Start your LLC worry-free
  • Excellent option for multi-state firms
  • Help with compliance for highly regulated industries
  • Complete solution for entity management, taxes, and licensing

File formation documents

To officially create your LLC, file Articles of Organization with your state. These documents include your LLC name, registered agent information, and business purpose. You may need to specify that your LLC will be engaged in short-term rental activities.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN is like a Social Security number for your LLC. They are used for tax purposes and opening a business bank account. You can obtain an EIN for free from the IRS website.

Draft an operating agreement

You may think this step is unnecessary, especially if there is only one member of your LLC. However, it may protect you if disputes arise. An operating agreement should address these key points:

  • Ownership of content (especially as collaborations between creators become more common)
  • Revenue distribution
  • Dispute resolution and subscriber issues

Open a business bank account

Separating your personal and Airbnb business finances is crucial. Open a business bank account using your LLC name and EIN. A separate business account makes it easier to track income and expenses related to your rental property, which is helpful come tax time.

File Airbnb LLC taxes

Choosing to be taxed as an S corporation can help Airbnb hosts reduce their self-employment tax burden. They can split their income between a salary and distributions. Only the salary portion is subject to self-employment taxes.

For example, if you choose to be taxed as an S corp and generate $100,000 in annual income, you can pay yourself a salary of $60,000 and take the remaining $40,000 as distributions. In this scenario, only the $60,000 salary would be subject to self-employment taxes, reducing the overall tax burden.

There are many tax deductions that you can claim to reduce your overall tax burden:

  • Homeowners association costs
  • Rental expenses (mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance)
  • Guest supplies (toiletries, bed sheets)
  • Cleaning fees
  • Utilities
  • Repairs
  • Maintenance

For example, if John earns $30,000 a year from his Airbnb. He can deduct $5,000 in rental expenses, $2,000 in cleaning fees, $1,000 in supplies, and $2,000 in repairs if he has proof that he has spent this on the property. This can reduce his overall taxable income to $20,000.


Can I form an LLC for a single Airbnb property?

Yes, you can form an LLC for a single Airbnb property.

What are the ongoing maintenance requirements for an Airbnb LLC?

The ongoing maintenance requirements for an Airbnb LLC include filing annual reports, paying state fees, and keeping accurate records of income and expenses. It’s important to stay on top of state regulations to maintain your LLC’s good standing.

Do I need an operating agreement? 

While not legally required in most states, an operating agreement is highly recommended for Airbnb LLCs, especially if there are multiple owners. It outlines the roles, responsibilities, and profit-sharing arrangements among members.

How is running an Airbnb business different from a rental business?

Running an Airbnb business often involves:

– More frequent turnovers.
– Higher expectations for amenities and cleanliness.
– A greater focus on customer service compared to traditional rental businesses.

Do I need a business license for my Airbnb business?

Many cities and counties require short-term rental hosts to obtain business licenses. Research the requirements in your area.

Can I form an LLC if I’m not a U.S. citizen? 

Yes, however, you’ll need to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and follow specific regulations.

How does forming an LLC affect my personal tax return?

As a single-member LLC, your Airbnb income and expenses will be reported on Schedule E of your personal income tax return. If your LLC has multiple members, you’ll need to file Form 1065 and provide each member with a Schedule K-1.

Can I form an LLC in a state different from where my Airbnb property is located?

Yes, you can form an LLC in a different state, but you may need to register your LLC as a foreign entity in the state where your property is located. This can result in additional fees and compliance requirements.

How do I pay myself from my Airbnb LLC?

You can pay yourself by taking an owner’s draw or by setting up a regular salary. Consult with a tax professional to determine the most tax-efficient method for your specific situation.

Can I use my personal bank account for my Airbnb LLC? 

While you can technically use your personal bank account, it’s highly recommended to open a separate business account for your Airbnb LLC. This helps maintain the legal separation between your personal and business finances and makes bookkeeping and tax preparation simpler.

Are the costs of setting up an LLC tax deductible?

Costs associated with setting up an LLC are tax-deductible as business expenses. According to the IRS, start-up costs are deductible. These include.

– State filing fees
– Legal fees for drafting articles of organization and operating agreements
– Accounting fees
– Costs of obtaining business licenses and permits

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