Airbnb withdraws French payment system
Paris, France – 12 December 2017 –
Airbnb has agreed to withdraw a payment system in France, suspected of facilitating tax avoidance after the government complained it could potentially be used to launder money and lead to a loss in revenues.
The move followed a meeting between the accommodation rental website’s executives and government ministers, including French finance minister Bruno Le Maire, where the company agreed to “rule out any opportunity for open fraud” by using prepaid Payoneer cards, Agence France-Presse reported.
“The company will waive all use of the prepaid card Payoneer on the French market,” said Emmanuel Marill, Airbnb’s France director, in a statement released by the finance ministry.
“This responsible decision makes it possible to rule out any opportunity for open fraud by using this method of payment.”
Payoneer cards allow homeowners to receive payments for their rentals without money transiting through bank accounts. The French government asked tax authorities to look into the system after it was revealed that Airbnb was allowing owners to use them.
Le Maire and budget minister Gerald Darmanin had reminded Airbnb bosses of “the legal obligations in terms of declaring income generated” in France, the statement said.
Airbnb said that fewer than 1 percent of hosts in France used the system but that it wanted to “respond to concerns linked to possible debit card abuse”.