Spain to go after Airbnb and Uber by introducing new digital tax

The Spanish Finance Ministry is to introduce a new digital tax for firms like Airbnb and Uber you currently escape payment’s thanks to a system designed for traditional brick-and-mortar companies.

The Spanish Finance Ministry has revealed plans to introduce a new tax on alternative economy businesses such as Uber and Airbnb. On Thursday, Finance Minister María Jesús Montero of the Socialist Party (PSOE) said that any company whose business model is based on a digital platform will be subject to new tax laws.

“We are going to look at appropriate tax treatment for this not-so-recent phenomenon of the collaborative economy, particularly in the accommodation and transportation sector,” she said. Online retail sales, as well as online food companies, will also be targeted under the new plans.

“There are businesses we all know that are dedicated to services and are generating billions in economic activity, yet do not pay appropriate taxes, because the current tax laws do not recognize this type of activity.”

Under the new plan, a 3% tax would be levied on all online advertising services, brokerage services and on the sale of data collected from the information that users provide. This tax would apply to businesses with a revenue stream of more than €3 million in Spain and €750 million globally.

The tax laws could affect companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, HomeAway and Just Eat.

Currently, multinational companies use legal means to move profits from one country to low-tax jurisdictions such as Ireland, the Netherlands or Luxembourg. Facebook in Spain avoided paying any taxes by declaring 1€ million in losses by exploiting this legal loophole.

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