Exclusive: Britain hits Airbnb UK with extra $2.3 million tax bill after probe

Small toy figures are seen in front of diplayed Airbnb logo in this illustration taken March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) – British authorities hit Airbnb UK with an extra tax bill of 1.8 million pounds ($2.3 million) last year, the home rental startup’s accounts showed on Tuesday, following an investigation into the firm.

The UK arm of the San Francisco company, which also paid annual corporation tax of over 1 million pounds, said it had paid the extra obligations after a request from British tax authorities Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

“During 2019, the Company received a revised assessment from HMRC which resulted in additional tax payable of 1.8 million pounds,” Airbnb UK said in their accounts, which were reviewed by Reuters.

The company also said that it would share earnings data from its UK hosts with local tax authorities going back to 2017.

Airbnb has faced pressure from governments and regulators around the world to ensure that the users of its platforms — private individuals who offer their homes as short-term lets — pay the appropriate taxes.

The company said in 2018 that it had been contacted by HMRC about its tax arrangements.

Outside of the extra tax bill for last year, the filings showed that Airbnb UK paid 1.1 million in tax on its profits in the year to Dec. 31 2019, compared to 146,000 pounds in 2018, though profits also rose sharply over the year to 5.6 million pounds from 455,000 pounds.

“We are committed to working in partnership with governments… and we will continue to work collaboratively with HMRC,” Airbnb said in a statement.

($1 = 0.7768 pounds)

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