EU court rejects Airbnb plea on Belgian information for tax authorities

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s top court on Wednesday rejected a case brought by accommodation services company Airbnb Ireland against Belgian regional legislation requiring it to provide information to tax authorities on tourist transactions.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that requiring providers of property intermediation services and, in particular, operators of an electronic accommodation platform, to transmit to tax authorities certain particulars of tourist transactions was not contrary to European Union law.

Airbnb had argued that the requirement contravened the principle of the freedom to provide services.

In a statement, Airbnb noted the ruling and said the case would now return to the Belgian Constitutional Court.

The ECJ said in a statement that the ruling concluded that – because it was of a fiscal nature – the requirement was excluded from the scope of the EU directive on electronic commerce.

Many European cities have been pushing for tougher rules on Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms amid concerns that they drive up property prices and encourage landlords towards short-term stays rather than taking long-term tenants.

(Reporting by John Chalmers; additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Josephine Mason; editing by Robin Emmott and Louise Heavens)