Ile d’Oléron sues Airbnb for 30 million euros

Ile d’Oléron sues Airbnb for 30 million euros

“Oléron, just opposite New York”, have fun saying – even displaying it on T-shirts – the inhabitants of the largest French island on the Atlantic coast, in Charente-Maritime. But the name of Oléron does not make smile the Americans of the world giant of the rental of furnished tourist accommodation, Airbnb.

Read also: Airbnb sentenced to 300,000 euros in France for not having sufficiently informed its customers

The company, whose European headquarters are in Dublin, received a summons on January 27, inviting it to come and explain itself on April 25, before the La Rochelle police court, on the failures to collect the tourist tax in 2020 and 2021. The community of municipalities of the island reproaches him, specifies AFP, for not having carried out “declaration relating to the tourist tax” in 2020, before a declaration “incomplete and erroneous” the next year. She is claiming some 29.7 million euros from him, plus four civil fines according to the strict application of the general code of local authorities, which stipulates in particular that non-payment of the tourist tax can be worth a fine of up to up to 2,500 euro “without being less than 750 euros”.

The elected representatives of Oléron based their calculation on the “high fork” : 2,500 euros multiplied by the number of stays, i.e. more than 6,800 in 2020 and 5,000 in 2021, to which are added, of course, the lawyers’ fees. The “low range” would amount to 9 million euros. Enough to send a salty note to the other side of the Atlantic.

“Create case law”

Oléron, whose access is free, unlike its neighbour, Ré, which benefits from a paid bridge, is not at its first attempt. In September 2022, Airbnb had to pay an invoice of 470,000 euros to the community for taxes not paid in 2020 and 2021. “They dragged their feet but ended up paying, laboriously”underlines Michel Parent, president various right of the community of communes of the island.

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Faced with the absence of case law concerning these platforms, the island of Oléron is therefore continuing its standoff, demanding a “substantial fine”. For its part, Airbnb mentioned in a press release a “technical error”ensuring that “all identified under-collected amounts have already been paid, with legal default interest”. “Just because we’re a multinational doesn’t mean we shouldn’t obey the lawreplies Michel Parent. We want to mark the occasion by asking for a large sum, which will be used to invest in supporting permanent housing on the island. » Other communities have contacted the Oléronais for advice. “I hope they will take the same path to create a case law that will calm the ardor of the major platforms”says Michel Parent.

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