Business licensing in South Korea
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
Could I be a business? When am I likely to be considered to be a business?
In South Korea, an activity is generally considered to be a business if it is carried out in return for money in a professional, organized and regular way. There are resources online which can help you identify whether your activity could be considered to be a business.
You will generally also be considered to be conducting a business if you engage in an activity for which a licence or registration is required. For example, a tourism business is a licensed activity and generally you will be considered to be a business if you are registered as a tourism business.
What if I am a registered business - what things should I be thinking about? Is there anything I need to be aware of when dealing with consumers?
Yes. Consumer protection laws, such as the Act on Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce, the Act on Fair Labeling and Advertising, etc., apply to registered businesses and you will be required to truthfully describe your trip or experience in your listing so your guests can make informed decisions. This means that:
- the information you provide to guests should be accurate and not misleading,
- you should provide an accurate and complete description in your listing of the main characteristics of your trip or experience, as well as what is included and any special terms and conditions (for example, my favorite local craft cocktail bar experience includes the first round of drinks, but guests must pay for additional drinks out of pocket)
- you should not offer a service that you do not intend to provide
- your up-front price should be accurate, and you should not list a trip or experience at one price and then charge an additional fee when your guests get there.
In sum, this means that you need to provide the services advertised in your listing, within the advertised dates and times, at the advertised price. For more information, the relevant laws provide a detailed guidance on truth-in-advertising, that we encourage you to review.
Do any business registration or licensing obligations apply?
Yes. If you are considered to be a business:
- You need to obtain a VAT number (you can get this from the Revenue Office).
- In addition, depending on the activities involved in your trip or experience, then you may need to register, obtain licenses, or follow specific rules that apply to that activity. Our section on the various activity specific topics cover some of the typical activities, but it is not exhaustive. You should always check with your local government office or speak to a lawyer to determine which registrations, reports, or licenses may be required for the experiences you are offering.
Do I need to set up a company or comply with any other formal requirements?
There is no need to set up a company in order to trade goods or services.
If you like, you can choose to register your business as a company, a partnership or cooperative. Different rules apply to each of these formal categories. You can find out more here.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your experience will involve other activities (for example, serving or providing food or alcohol or involves transportation), please take a look at our other information sections to work out if any other rules might apply to your activity. Our section on the various activity specific topics cover some of the typical activities, but it is not exhaustive. You should always check with your local government office or speak to a lawyer to determine which registrations, reports, or licenses may be required for the experiences you are offering.
You should also check what tax and accounting rules apply to you, and make sure you have the right insurance cover in place to cover all the activities you will be providing.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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