Airbnb, Milan prosecutor’s office seizes 779 million euros

The seizure decree executed by the Financial Police. According to the prosecutor’s office, the short-term rental platform would not have paid the flat rate tax on rent from 2017 to 2021

There The Financial Police seized, on the orders of the Milan prosecutor’s office, over 779 million euros from Airbnb Ireland Unlimited Company, the company that owns the short-term rental platform of the same name. Three natural persons under investigation, who held administrative positions within the same foreign company, in the years from 2017 to 2021. This was announced in a press release by the Milan prosecutor’s office led by Marcello Viola. The total amount of the seizure is 779,453,912 euros.

The execution of the precautionary measure comes at the end of the investigations conducted by the II Department of the Milanese prosecutor’s office on the basis of the results of the tax audit carried out by the Economic-Financial Police Unit of Milan against the aforementioned foreign company, from which it emerged that the same, with regard to the activities carried out in Italy, would not have complied with the obligations introduced by article 4 of Legislative Decree 50/2017.

In particular, “avoiding the declaration and payment (as withholding agent) of withholding taxes equal to the amount of the seizure obtained by the investigating judge of Milan, calculated at 21 percent (so-called flat rate tax) on short-term rental payments of 3,711,685,297 euros paid in the period 2017-2021 by the guests of the accommodation facilities advertised by Airbnb, for the bookings made, amounts subsequently repaid to the owners of the properties (hosts), net of the commission charged for the use of the relevant digital infrastructure.

There real precautionary measure is based on the contestation of the crime of failure to declare tax “committed from 30 January 2019 to 30 January 2023” and is motivated both in relation to the subsequent mandatory confiscation, in direct or equivalent form, and for the deemed danger of prolongation and aggravation of the consequences of the crime, “also with reference – concludes the note from the prosecutor’s office – to the economic damage resulting from the failure to pay the tax due to other operators in the sector who comply with the role of tax withholding agent“.