Booking.com, one of the world’s largest websites for booking hotels and holiday accommodation, based in the Netherlands, “failed to apply the tax to mediation in the rental of private homes and guest rooms,” the Italian tax authority said in the communication.
He added that the investigation, which covered the years from 2013 to 2019, “revealed widespread tax evasion of more than 150 million euros in the payment of value-added tax.”
During this period, the booking platform collected €700 million in commissions in Italy, which it should have declared and paid more than €153 million in value-added tax (VAT), according to Italian tax authorities.
The site confirmed its receipt of the audit report from the tax police and its commitment to fully cooperate with the Italian tax authorities.
“In accordance with applicable European VAT legislation, we understand that all our counterparts in the EU, including Italy, are responsible for assessing and reporting local VAT to their governments,” an AFP spokesperson for the tax authority told AFP.
Booking.com claimed at the time that the taxes demanded by the French tax authorities were paid in the Netherlands, where it is headquartered, a country that levied a much lower corporate tax than in France.
Established in the Netherlands in 1996, Booking.com is a subsidiary of American Booking Holdings (formerly Priceline Group) since 2005, and was already audited for its activities in France between 2003 and 2012, and was notified at the end of 2015 in connection with a tax deviation 356 million euros.
Then the Booking.com platform claimed that the taxes demanded by the French tax authorities had been paid in the Netherlands, where it is headquartered, and that it introduced a corporate tax that was much less onerous than that imposed by France.
In early June, the platform announced that it would repay the Dutch government 60 million euros in aid received during the Covid-19 epidemic, which came after strong protests caused by the payment of bonuses to its officials, amounting to 28 million euros.