Adhesion procedure defined with the Revenue Agency, seizure avoided
Booking pays 94 million euros and closes the dispute with the Italian tax authorities, avoiding seizure. The company Booking.com Bv based in the Netherlands has settled, through a membership procedure with the Revenue Agency, paying in particular approximately 94 million euros to the Treasury, a tax dispute for failure to submit VAT declarations for annuity from 2013 until 2021 (for which proceedings are pending at the Genoa Prosecutor’s Office). This was announced by the Genoa prosecutor’s office, which concluded a detailed investigation conducted by the Gdf Company of Chiavari, and in-depth checks carried out by the Revenue Agency.
The investigations had in fact ascertained that Booking.com Bv invoiced the online intermediation services rendered in favor of all advertiser hoteliers-room owners without collecting the relevant VAT and applying the reverse-charge mechanism for all Italian customers, without distinction, in force of which the VAT on each service is due not by the supplier but by the client (i.e., in this case by the hotelier or “room landlord”) but only if he is the owner of the relevant lot.
The ascertained general application by the Booking company of the reverse charge regime also towards advertisers without a VAT number was not considered correct, as only hoteliers/room owners who are owners of it can make use of it. With respect to the large number of hoteliers or ‘room owners’ without a VAT number, Booking failed to issue invoices with Italian value added tax and submit the annual declaration for VAT purposes for the years from 2013 to 2021.
Following this omission, criminal proceedings were initiated at the Genoa Public Prosecutor’s Office, which was responsible for being the first judicial office to register the relevant crime notice. The investigation by the Genoa prosecutor’s office also developed thanks to the documentation provided by the Dutch Judicial Authority, following a coordination meeting held in October 2022 at the Eurojust headquarters, during which the role of of Eurojust in facilitating cooperation and mutual recognition of decisions between the judicial authorities of the various countries.
The payment of the sums verified as evaded allowed Booking.com Bv to avoid being requested by this judicial authority and carried out a preventive seizure in criminal proceedings.
Booking.com BV, implementing among other things with an appreciable and responsible spirit of collaboration the guidelines and indications of the Revenue Agency, as well as a specific request from the Genoa Prosecutor’s Office, on the tax plan for the year 2022, in accordance with what was requested by the Agency , has presented the declaration for VAT purposes in Italy, for a tax amounting to over 19 million euros, has also adopted an organizational model compliant with the approach of the Italian Tax Office, according to which if the hotelier client does not provide a VAT number or if you provide the Company with a VAT number that is not valid for the EU, Booking will apply VAT at 22% on the invoice and will complete the VAT return and pay the related tax in Italy on all transactions with non-owner private individuals VAT number.