Judgment of the ECJ
Airbnb must provide local authorities with information about private overnight stays
On Wednesday in Luxembourg, the European Court of Justice announced a ruling on the obligation of holiday accommodation brokers to provide information to the tax authorities.
Airbnb and similar Internet platforms must provide local authorities and tax authorities with information about the accommodation they provide. This was decided on Wednesday by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg on an accommodation tax in Brussels. There are also comparable taxes in numerous German municipalities, including the “City Tax” in Berlin. (Az: C-674/20)
In Belgium, the Brussels region levies a regional tax on tourist overnight stays. In order to increase income and at the same time ensure fair competition, this also applies to privately rented apartments. Private intermediaries, including Internet portals such as Airbnb, are obliged to provide information under the regulations.
In 2017, the regional tax authority asked Airbnb for information about the landlords and the overnight stays arranged for them in nine specifically named private accommodations. Airbnb denied this. The obligation to provide information is not compatible with EU law. The Belgian Constitutional Court referred the dispute to the ECJ.
He has now confirmed the Brussels tax. The European “Directive on electronic commerce” grants digital service providers wide protection against restrictions. The tax system is expressly excluded from this. This also applies to regional taxes like here.
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There is also no restriction on the freedom to provide services. The obligation to provide information covers all intermediaries, regardless of where they are based and how they provide their services. It is therefore not discriminatory. The fact that digital intermediaries and Airbnb in particular are particularly badly affected only reflects their market share.
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