Tax office launches Airbnb probe

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The tax authorities in the Netherlands launched an investigation into vacation rental and temporary housing website Airbnb to determine the amount of unpaid income tax landlords still owe. Investigators are concerned that homeowners using Airbnb to supplement their income are not declaring additional rental income. 

Individuals who rent their homes out for a short period of time have to pay up to 70 percent of the revenue in taxes, a spokesman for the Dutch tax authority, Belastingdienst, told NOS.

Airbnb cannot commit to exchanging data with the office because the company is located in the United States. However, the Belastingdienst wants to keep the door open for a formal cooperation in the company in the future.

Airbnb said it is open to cooperation with the Dutch tax authorities, but there are boundaries to their responsibility. " We are not an extension of the Dutch tax office," a spokesman for the company told NOS. "Paying tax is the responsibility of the users themselves."

The company already includes Amsterdam's five percent tourist tax in calculations of the price of rentals in the capital city after the two sides reached a deal in December.

The service is becoming more popular in Amsterdam, specifically among the tourists. At the same time, Airbnb receives criticisms for creating unfair competition to hotels and hosting a platform for illegal subletting.