Polish Finance Minister wants Airbnb taxed

Tadeusz Kościński, the Polish Finance Minister, would like to tax Airbnb, the American rental online system, the British daily, “Financial Times” reports.

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“If we’re going to be making sure that anyone who is renting out their flats in the sharing economy pay their fair share of tax, then also the people they are paying — Airbnb are part of the value chain — they should be paying as well,” the Polish minister said in the interview.

“Otherwise they are distorting markets. Companies that are based in Poland are paying taxes so their margins are lower. So it is an unfair practice. I am not there to either kill or milk them, just to make sure that they do not disrupt markets,” he added.

The discussion about taxing major digital corporations in Poland has been ongoing for some time. Poland wanted to impose such a tax but finally - after significant lobbying by the US authorities - decided to wait for the end of OECD negotiations on the matter.

The minister emphasised that Poland is active in these negotiations. However, he added, if they take too long or the result would be impossible to implement, the government will have to “rethink its own strategy.”

Mr Kościński also added that he does not want to lay identical tax on all digital corporations. “I would much prefer to sit down with Airbnb and Google and Amazon and everyone else and say: ‘you know you have got to pay tax in Poland, otherwise there will be no roads, no police, no schools. It’s a no-brainer..: how much are you prepared to pay?” he said.

An Airbnb representative defended the company’s stance, stating “we follow the rules and pay all the tax we owe in the places we do business; that is true as rules apply today and will remain true for whatever rules apply in future,” the spokesperson told “FT.”