Airbnb, like other large groups in online commerce or the technology sector, centralizes all this income from commissions in its central parent company for Europe, based in Ireland, a country that continues to offer tax advantages for multinationals. With regard to the Spanish Treasury, the group only has one subsidiary that is in charge of marketing and advertising tasks both for its Irish parent and for the global corporation, based in the United States.
The result of this tax strategy -which is fully legal- is that Airbnb’s tax payments in Spain are very low despite the weight that the Spanish market has in its tourism business. The Spanish subsidiary paid 286,337 euros in corporate tax last year in Spain, according to the accounts deposited by the company in the Mercantile Registry. An amount that is the net effect on its results, because the firm activated a tax credit for 126,869 euros that it will cover with the profits it expects to obtain in the coming years.
Since its arrival in Spain in mid-2011 and until the end of 2021, the company has paid 1.15 million euros in corporate tax, and has declared a net profit accumulated for more than a decade of 2.2 million euros exclusively for its commercial support activity for the corporation.
The Spanish subsidiary, Airbnb Marketing Services SLbased in Barcelona, does not carry out for tax purposes any activity related to tourist rentals and It works like a mere advertising agency. The income of the local subsidiary is reduced to the services invoiced to other companies of the group, the recognized profits are therefore reduced and, with it, the payment of corporation tax is also reduced.
As expressly stated in the financial accounts report, the corporate purpose of Airbnb Marketing Services “is limited to providing marketing and market targeting services and is hereby contracted by Airbnb Ireland UC to provide such services.” In fact, the Spanish subsidiary is listed under code 7311 of the National Classification of Economic Activities (CNAE), reserved for advertising agencies.
“Airbnb complies with all tax regulations to which it is subject and pays all applicable taxes in the places where it operates”, official company sources emphasize to El Periódico de España, from the Prensa Ibérica group. “Airbnb Marketing Services SL provides marketing and commercial support services and pays all applicable taxes in Spain. The Airbnb model is unique and allows many people to earn additional income, with a direct impact on family and local economies,” they argue.
The owners of the apartments are taxed
The group’s argument is that, although Airbnb’s commission income is centralized in another country (up to a maximum of 18% of the rental amount), the remaining 82% that remains in the hands of the owners of the tourist apartments is taxed in Spain. “The vast majority of the economic activity that is generated through the platform stays in the local communities through the income that the hosts earn, and is subject to local taxes.”
In this sense, Airbnb insists that the company provides periodic information to hosts to help them pay the taxes they are required to pay in Spain, that it has enabled the option to discard all host transactions to facilitate taxation. , and that it works with independent organizations to help landlords understand their tax obligations.
Airbnb assures that it “works closely with the Spanish and EU tax authorities to help simplify taxation at the European level”. The group has shown its support for the extension of the community directive on tax cooperation between countries to include digital platforms (called DAC 7), to better identify the business that the platforms have in each country through the exchange of information, and also supports the plans of the OECD to impose a minimum rate of 15% of corporation tax on multinationals.