As with most of these matters, this tax dispute will be fought out in the courts. This isn't the end of the saga.
An Italian judge has ordered the seizure of 779.5 million euros ($836.40 million) from short-term rentals platform Airbnb’s Ireland unit for alleged tax evasion, Milan prosecutors’ office said on Monday.
The probe concerns Airbnb’s alleged failure to withold 21% of landlords’ rental income and pay it to Italian tax authorities, as required by a 2017 law, prosecutors in the northern Italian city said in a statement.
Three people who held managerial roles between 2017 and 2021, the period covering the alleged violation, are under investigation and are jointly targeted by the money seizure order, the statement added.
[An Airbnb spokesperson told Skift: “Airbnb Ireland has been in active discussions with the Italian tax agency since June 2023 to resolve this matter. We are surprised and disappointed at the action announced by the Italian public prosecutor on Monday. We are confident that we have acted in full compliance with the law and intend to exercise our rights with respect to this issue.”]
The company had unsuccessfully challenged the 2017 law cited by prosecutors in a legal battle that ended in December with the EU Court of Justice ruling in the Italian government’s favour.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s administration is meanwhile planning a crackdown on tax cheating on short-term rentals, and wants to raise taxes from 21% to 26% for owners of multiple short-term rental properties.
($1 = 0.9320 euros)
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Photo credit: The interior of an Airbnb property in Italy. Source: Fattoria la Maliosa/Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/fattorialamaliosa/31235435107/ Fattoria la Maliosa / Flickr