UK: It has been revealed that Airbnb paid only £449, 802 in corporation tax for the year ending December 2018, down from the £477, 284 the previous year when HMRC began its enquiries into the firm’s UK tax structure.
At the same time, Airbnb’s profit rose to almost £2 million after reporting income of £1.7 million in 2017. It also posted sales exceeding £300 million in Britain.
In filings reportedly seen by City A.M., Airbnb said it remains subject to “tax enquiries and proceedings concerning its operations and intracompany transactions” and has been contacted regarding its tax laws application, “some of which may result in litigation”.
The majority of Airbnb’s profits in the UK are channelled through its Irish European headquarters, but it has two subsidiaries in Britain. One promotes the website domestically, while the other deals with payments between renters and landlords internationally.
Airbnb says its ongoing operation through its Ireland headquarters is under “legislative risk”, as the status of legislation that governs the firm “remains vague at best”.
The company has been challenged in some European markets to ensure its hosts pay the appropriate corporation tax for renting out their properties to tourists. A legal challenge earlier this year which sought to classify the company as a real estate agency under French law was unsuccessful.
A spokesperson told City A.M.: “We follow the rules and pay all the tax we owe in the places we do business.
“Airbnb’s UK office provides marketing services and pays all applicable taxes. The Airbnb model is unique and boosted the UK economy by up to £4.2 billon last year alone.
“The vast majority of money generated on our platform stays with hosts and local communities, which makes Airbnb fundamentally different to companies that take large sums of money out of the places they do business,” they added.