Hoteliers pressure Spain to tax unlicensed Airbnb-style rentals

A new British tax law is putting further pressure on the Spanish government

LAST UPDATED: 30 Jul, 2015 @ 17:01

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BEACH HOUSE: Holidaymakers spend billions on unlicensed rentals

HOTELIERS in Spain and internationally are seeing their profits drop as customers increasingly turn to websites such as Airbnb for accommodation.

A recent study by Esade suggests that as many as 49% of Spain’s holiday rentals are unlicensed and untaxed.

Calls for increased regulation of these properties have been bolstered by the announcement of a new tax law in the UK that will give the British government access to information on Internet vendors.

These vendors include homeowners who rent their properties to tourists and also those who sell products on websites like eBay.

Under the new law, the UK revenue and customs office (HMRC) will have access to Internet vendors’ names and addresses and the value of transactions, which will allow authorities to spot — and prosecute — tax evasions.

The value of untaxed online transactions is estimated at more than €8 billion in Britain alone.

Last year, Barcelona fined Airbnb €30,000 for breach of tourism laws. In the aftermath of the fine, several high-profile Spanish hoteliers demanded an end to “unregulated and unlawful” holiday accommodations.

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  1. Again. If you can’t beat them, join them.
    Why can’t big chain hoteliers convert some
    of their existing properties to short-term rentals. Then post them on AirBNB? Travelers want more choices

  2. This is about tax delarations and less about licences – there’s no official decree in place yet for holiday rental owners in several areas in Spain (including Andalucia) in terms of licences – we’ve been waiting for nearly 2 years.

    There’s still too much confusion around Spanish holiday rental taxes and the system is far too complex.

    If you go in to many local town halls to ask about obligations you will often just be pointed to a local accountant as they will admit it’s just far too difficult to do yourself.

    An accountant will generally additionally charge between €40-60 to file quarterly reports but even then it is not straight forward.

    If the juntas could introduce an online system for owners/managers to declare bookings/expenses it would go a long way to solving the situation.

  3. Terrific post, NeedMoreRentals. There is a lack of tax declaration process for holiday rentals. However, some municipalities, driven by local hoteliers, are threatening crackdowns. Fear, uncertainty, doubt.

  4. OK so the Government crack down on the private rentals, which according to the figures (which I do not believe) means that 49% of the income which tourist spend will disappear as those renting privately are unlikely to pay the high charges demanded by the ‘professionals’ that is why they rent privately.

    A much mores sensible approach would be make registration to let very simple and free and crack down hard on those owners who do not registers. That would ensure that visitors would not be subjected to risks to health which possibly exist now in unregistered properties, and make all income, tax free for private owners. The loss to Hacienda would not, according to the figures, make any difference as it is now claimed the owners are not declaring the income anyway.

    Result: Safer rentals, no tax criminals being created by the system, and maybe less public money wasted, as it seems unsuccessfully, trying to catch the people who bring wealth to Spain. It may even mean more visitors and more income for Spain.

  5. The simple truth is that more and more families are not choosing hotels as a base for their holidays, this is true not only for Spain but Europe as a whole. What’s wrong with Spanish hotels – total lack of any privacy due to partition walls being a joke and questionable food as part of a holiday package.

    The French and also to an extent the Dutch and Germans long ago discovered the freedom that camper vans and caravans give you. Selecting a destination and arriving and finding it not to be what you thought it would be, simple, turn on the ignition and away you go. Being able to overnight right out in the wilds and sleep blissfully. Save a fortune and prepare your own food, which of course is the same in renting an apartment or house.

    No need to own a camper van, hire it for the holiday. Friends don’t have enough room to put you up, simple, sleep in the van – looking to buy a quality s/hand camper van myself.

    €30K will buy you a very good s/hand camper van – how much will a half way decent holiday home cost and your stuck in one place – no contest.