Airbnb faces the prospect of a tax bill worth hundreds of millions of euros following an Italian court ruling in a tax evasion case.
Milan prosecutors say a judge has authorized the seizure of €779.5 million (£677 million) from the short-term property rental platform.
They said this was linked to an alleged failure by the company to comply with laws that require Airbnb to pay 21% of the rental income of the country’s owners to the Italian tax authorities.
The requirement dates back to a 2017 EU Court of Justice ruling that was unsuccessfully appealed by Airbnb earlier this year.
The money seizure order, which covers the years 2017 to 2021, targets Airbnb’s Irish unit as well as three individuals who held senior positions at the company during that period.
AIrbnb has not yet commented.
The company had fought the tax crackdown, which required Airbnb and its competitors to provide authorities with details of all its rental contracts in Italy, on the grounds that they violated EU principles on the freedom to operate in the entire block.
The news could be about to get worse for Airbnb as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government has revealed plans to further increase the rental tax rate, to 26%, on all short-term rentals.
News of the tax request came just a week after the company revealed record quarterly profits of $4.4 billion, helped in part by a one-time tax benefit tied to its assets.
Group revenue of $3.4 billion, up 18% from the same period last year.