Infotech Île d’Oléron takes Airbnb to court and claims 30 million euros

Île d’Oléron takes Airbnb to court and claims 30 million euros

The community of municipalities of Île d’Oléron, in Charente-Maritime, is claiming nearly 30 million euros from Airbnb for failure to collect tourist tax in 2020 and 2021.

The community criticizes the tourist rental platform for not having carried out “declaration relating to the tourist tax” the first year, then file a return “incomplete and erroneous” the following, in a summons to justice consulted Monday by AFP.

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Airbnb Ireland is summoned to appear on April 25 before the La Rochelle court, to which the community of municipalities asks to order the platform to pay four civil fines totaling 29.7 million euros, as revealed Sunday by “le Figaro”.

This amount corresponds to the maximum fine provided for by the Local Authorities Code in the event of failure to pay the tourist tax, i.e. 2,500 euros, multiplied by the number of stays concerned over the period (nearly 12,000).

Make an example

The community on the island of Oléron had already claimed more than 400,000 euros from Airbnb for unpaid taxes in 2020 and 2021, a sum which the platform paid in September after a first showdown. But according to the lawyer for the Oléron community, Me Jonathan Bellaïche, this payment does not settle the case because “the law provides for penalties” against this type of breach, hence the summons to fine Airbnb.

“The problem was due to a technical error and was resolved last year as soon as we were informed. All the identified under-collected amounts have already been paid, with the legal interest on arrears”reacted Monday in an Airbnb press release.

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With this summons, which the platform claims not to have yet received, the community wants to set an example because its case is not unique according to its president Michel Parent. “Several communities of municipalities asked us to find out how we had been able to recover the sum from previous years”he explains.

On January 17, following a summons from the same elected officials from Oléron, another tourist rental platform, Booking, was ordered by the La Rochelle court to communicate the number of nights reserved on the island by its intermediary in 2020 and 2021. The community also accuses him of similar shortcomings.

On January 13, Airbnb announced that it had paid 148 million euros in tourist tax to French municipalities in 2022, an amount up 60% compared to the previous year. For the community of communes of the island of Oléron, this amount is “nearly 200,000 euros”Airbnb said Monday.

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