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    Federal COVID-19 economic relief resources for U.S. hosts

    Airbnb hosts may apply for small business loans, unemployment assistance, and more.
    By Airbnb on Apr 3, 2020
    30 min read
    Updated Apr 28, 2021


    • The new federal relief act will cover many Airbnb hosts in the U.S.

    • Airbnb hosts may apply for small business loans, unemployment assistance, mortgage relief, tax rebates, and more

    • If you have more questions, contact the relevant government agencies directly or consult a lawyer or tax expert

    Updated April 24, 2020

    In March 2020, the U.S. federal government passed legislation that includes the Airbnb host community in national efforts to provide emergency financial relief to individuals and small businesses reeling from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The law is designed to allow most Airbnb hosts in the U.S. affected by COVID-19 to take advantage of relief measures, including the ones outlined below.

    Thanks to the hosts who sent over 100,000 emails to Members of Congress in support of this relief package. Your advocacy was instrumental in ensuring that Congress extended support to our community.

    As a platform and marketplace, we do not provide legal advice, but want to give you some useful information and links that may help you better understand relief opportunities. If you have more questions, please contact these government agencies directly or consult a local lawyer or tax professional.

    Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and grants

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized SBA loans and grants to cover COVID-19-impacted small businesses (including sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors). These loans and grants may be used for sole proprietor payroll costs, mortgage interest payments, rent, utilities, or other repayment obligations. Subject to certain conditions, loan amounts may be forgivable. The SBA has set up various programs to facilitate these loans and grants, which Airbnb hosts may be eligible for, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL).

    The SBA Paycheck Protection Program is authorized to provide loan amounts up to $10 million USD for small business applicants. Depending on how the funds are used, the loans may be forgivable.

    • Who can apply: Airbnb hosts who are small business owners, sole proprietors, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors may apply and use loan proceeds for payroll costs (including sole proprietor compensation), mortgage interest payments, rent, and utilities.
    • How to apply: First choose a participating SBA-approved lender, which may be a bank or credit union you already use for personal or business financing. Then you’ll complete an application (like this sample form) and certify an economic need for the loan. You must also submit supporting documentation, which may include information on your bookings, booking revenue, and COVID-19-related booking cancellations.

    The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program provides emergency loan advances of up to $10,000 USD to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, which would not need to be repaid. Additionally, SBA is offering COVID-19-disaster designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to certain small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. See your state government’s website or other state resources for possible information regarding relief resources distributed by your state.

    • Who can apply: Airbnb hosts who are small business owners, sole proprietors, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors may apply and use loan proceeds for payroll costs (including sole proprietor compensation), mortgage interest payments, rent, and utilities.
    • How to apply: You may apply at the SBA’s website, provided funding for the program remains in place and you are eligible.

    Susheel Kumar, Public Information Officer of the SBA; Darlene Chiu, Executive Director of Global: SF; and Monisha Merchant, Co-Founder of Lotus Advisory Ltd., LLC, provide insights to help hosts understand the eligibility criteria, application process, documentation requirements, and loan terms for the SBA’s PPP and EIDL programs.

    Department of Labor (DOL) unemployment assistance

    While traditional unemployment insurance programs are not available to self-employed individuals or sole proprietors, the CARES Act expanded pandemic unemployment assistance to individuals personally impacted by COVID-19 and who “otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment or extended benefits under state or federal law.” As a result, some Airbnb hosts who operate as self-employed individuals or sole proprietors may be eligible for this assistance. Each state administers a separate unemployment assistance program, but all states follow the same guidelines established by federal law.

    • Who can apply: Individuals who do not otherwise qualify for regular unemployment or extended benefits under state or federal law and who are personally impacted by COVID-19.
    • When to apply: Recent news reports suggest that many states are awaiting further guidance from the DOL, but some state websites have updated FAQs to describe their status and advise you on your eligibility and application. For details specific to your state, get started by selecting your location. Additionally, you can learn more about financial relief resources available to U.S. hosts here.

    • How to apply: File a claim with the pandemic unemployment assistance program in the state where you earned income. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online. You should contact your state or territory’s unemployment assistance program as soon as possible.
    • Please note: Hosts are not employed by Airbnb and must not apply for unemployment assistance using forms such as those requiring an ESIN number. Please continue to monitor the guidance from the federal and state government on the application process.

    Tax and other relief

    The CARES Act included several tax relief provisions for individuals and for small businesses—for example, rebate checks for many Americans and, for certain hosts with business losses, modifying the loss limitation previously applicable so that they can utilize excess business losses and access critical cash flow. The CARES Act also established other opportunities for all Americans to increase access to needed capital, such as retirement account flexibility, student loan deferment, and forbearance for federally-backed mortgage loans and certain residential mortgage loan payments. Below are a few helpful links and examples of tax relief provisions.

    • Economic impact payment. On April 15, 2020, the Treasury Department began distributing electronic transfers to automatically qualifying taxpayers. This cash assistance was provided in the amount of $1,200 USD for individuals, $2,400 USD for joint filers, plus $500 USD for each qualifying child. The IRS is expected to begin sending paper checks to filers without direct deposit information in early May. Note that the payments gradually phase out for higher-income households. Please use the official IRS page to check the status of your payment or submit information to ensure that you collect your check even if you did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019.
    • Federal tax deferments. Tax filings and payments for all federal income taxes (including self-employment tax) that were initially due on April 15, 2020, will now be due on July 15, 2020. Note that many states have extended their tax filing deadlines as well, but you should check with your individual state for more information.
    • Retirement funds access. The CARES Act waives early withdrawal penalties for distributions up to $100,000 USD from certain qualified retirement accounts for coronavirus-related purposes. Additional guidance may be posted here soon.
    • Student loan relief. The CARES Act allows students to defer certain student loan payments, principal, and interest through September 30, 2020, without penalty to the borrower for federally-owned loans.
    • Mortgage loan forbearance. The CARES Act prohibits foreclosures on all federally-backed mortgage loans for a 60-day period that began on March 18, 2020, and prohibits eviction filings for certain properties for 120 days (through July 16, 2020). It also provides forbearance for borrowers of federally-backed mortgage loans who have experienced a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 emergency. Additional guidance on loan forbearance and moratoria on foreclosures and evictions during the COVID-19 emergency may be posted here.


    For those who apply for federal financial relief programs such as small business loans or pandemic unemployment assistance, you may be asked to provide documentation regarding your income, which may include earnings from your Airbnb hosting activity. For U.S. hosts, all transactions paid out in a calendar year are included in your Earnings Summary, including both net and gross earnings. Gross earnings include any withholdings or adjustments that may have reduced payouts throughout the year.

    Other helpful resources

    For other relevant information about COVID-19, including health tips, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other information about actions being taken by the U.S. government is available here and in Spanish here. The Department of Treasury also has information available here.

    Airbnb will continue to advocate on behalf of our host community and their diverse business needs. We’ll provide updates here on the implementation of these relief measures, as well as new sources of support for our community, as new resources are released. For more details about what Airbnb is doing to support our community during this unprecedented time, please visit

    Apr 3, 2020
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