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Airbnb refuses to hand over Austrian client data to taxman

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Airbnb refuses to hand over Austrian client data to taxman
View of Vienna State Opera. Photo: Markus Leupold-Löwenthal/Wikimedia
16:14 CET+01:00
Vienna city council officials are cracking down on the growing number of people who are offering accommodation on Internet platform Airbnb by demanding that the company hand over details of its clients.

They say that many of the people offering the services are not paying the necessary taxes, and as a result they want details so that they can be matched against those who are declaring their incomes.

Local council spokesman Klemens Himpele, in charge of the council’s Department of Economy, Labour and Statistics, the MA 23, said: "The question of whether tax should be paid is not one that a private company can decide upon, it is a duty that everybody has and there is no argument about that.
 
They said that other platforms have already made their data available about clients offering accommodation in Vienna, but Airbnb has so far refused citing "data privacy concerns".
 
The city council alleges that very few people who are renting flats or individual rooms on Airbnb are paying any of the necessary taxes.
 
Himpele said: "There is a vast gulf between those who seem to be declaring a rental income and paying taxes, and those who appear to be listing on Airbnb. It seems that only a small minority are actually paying any taxes."
 
The council has recently introduced new bylaws that will force Airbnb to hand things over but the rules cannot currently be enforced until various legal loopholes are sorted out, and in the meantime they are hoping to get the data they need by carrying out negotiations with the US-based company.
 
Local media reported that there are close to 10,000 different types of accommodation based in Vienna, which is currently being offered on the Airbnb platform.
 
Story courtesy of Central European News. 

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