Ángel Mesado (left, glasses and beard) during a meeting with Biel Barceló and Pilar Carbonell.

31-08-2017CAIB

The Spanish government is preparing a decree that will increase tax control and security of tourist rental accommodation. The deputy director-general for tourism cooperation and competitiveness, Antonio Nieto Magro, said in Ibiza yesterday that although the government recognises the benefits generated by rentals via websites, it is also aware that there are responsibilities which need to be met.

Nieto was speaking at the third congress for tourist housing. He explained that websites will be obliged to provide the Tax Agency with specific information on owners of accommodation for rent, on those who advertise properties and on income received. The government, he added, is seeking to eliminate the possibilities of tax non-declaration, the flow of black money and "even money laundering".

Under the law for citizen safety, he went on, hotels have to supply the state security forces with information about people staying in hotels. This requirement is to be extended to people staying in private tourist accommodation.

The head of public policy for Airbnb in Spain and Portugal, Ángel Mesado, said that websites and the Spanish Association for the Digital Economy have already consulted the draft of the decree and are expressing their "concern and disagreement". "We don't know exactly what the decree will be like, but we take a very negative view of it," he explained, adding that it may be incompatible with "European data protection and e-commerce regulations".

He observed that websites "are providing the means for this activity (rental), which is a traditional activity, and are collecting more taxes than ever because all payments go into bank accounts". He stressed that websites are means for "fulfilling users' tax obligations".

He also defended the economic impact of holiday rentals in the Balearics. Various websites, he stated, have added 900 million euros in the Balearics in the past year, of which 500 million euros have been the impact generated by Airbnb.

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