The dispute between the famous Airbnb portal and the Italian Revenue Agency has come to an end with the defeat of the first. In fact, the Lazio Regional Administrative Court rejected Airbnb’s appeal.
The quarrel concerns the application of the provision of the Revenue Agency on the tax regime for short leases introduced by Decree-Law No. 50 of 2017. This regulation provides for the obligation for companies such as Airbnb, which operate telematic portals designed to put people looking for a property in contact with people who have real estate units to be leased, to make a withholding tax of 21% on the amount of fees at the time of payment, to be paid to the Inland Revenue.
In particular, Airbnb refused to apply that measure on the premise that that law was contrary to the European principles of freedom to provide services under Article 56 TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of European Union).
However, the General Court made it clear that that legislation had not been infringed, since the measures in question were non-discriminatory and were implemented only to facilitate the collection of taxes in order to combat tax evasion in a sector which had not yet been harmonised.
In fact, the European Union does not interfere with national income tax policies, which are left to the exclusive competence of the Member States, in compliance with the fundamental principles enshrined in the Treaty.