• France's news in English

Airbnb starts charging users tourist tax in Paris

Ben McPartland · 1 Oct 2015, 09:30

Published: 01 Oct 2015 09:30 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Airbnb users will have to pay slightly more to rent an apartment in the French capital from now on as the holiday rental site enforces a new tax on customers.

From Thursday onwards Airbnb will charge users 83 centimes a night tourist tax - known as taxe de sejour - which will be handed over to the local authority. Even though it is not obliged to under law.

While the amount may appear insignificant it is expected to pull in €5 million a year for the French capital's coffers.

The charging of the tax - which tourists should have to pay every time they spend a night in paid accommodation in France -  is also seen as a move by Airbnb to keep the French taxman happy and respond to some of the complaints by the hotel industry.

They have accused Airbnb of providing unfair competition.

"We are proud to launch this simple and effective tax scheme in our number one destination in the world,” said Nicolas Ferrary, director of France Airbnb.

“By working closely with the government to simplify the payment of the tourist tax for our guests we are contributing to a modern and fair framework for tourism in France."

Previous rules stated that individuals renting out accommodation for short-term stays should impose the taxe de sejour on their guests but that rarely happened.

The government, as well as the country's leading hotel chains, complained that newer and more informal holiday rental sites like Airbnb, in which members of the public rent out their own bedrooms or apartments on a short-term basis, were not bothering to charge the tax and then hand it over to authorities.

Airbnb was launched in Paris back in 2012 and has since become the site's top destination in the world ahead of New York and Los Angeles.

From having around 4,000 adverts for Paris on its site back in 2012, it now numbers 50,000. That compares to 80,000 hotel beds in the city, so it's no surprise the traditional hoteliers are getting twitchy.

In February this year hotels declared war on the site in an open letter to the prime minister Manuel Valls calling on him to level the playing field.

"Without respect for the rules, our profession, our values, our jobs, and our investments are in danger," wrote Roland Heguy, the president of the French Hotel Union UMIH union.

Alain Chauvel, head of reception at the central Paris Hotel Vivienne, agreed that it was time something was done.
"There's not enough supervision," he told The Local. "If people rent out their apartment solely to tourists, they should have to follow the same rules and conditions as hotels."

It may not be the last time that authorities in France target Airbnb in a bid to bring it into line with more regulated traditional tourist lodgings.

A July 2014 report into tourist accommodation in France raised doubts about the legality of Airbnb, after one Frenchman was fined €2,000 for illegally subletting his apartment on the site.

Story continues below…

French MPs raised concerns about the popular site suggesting lawmakers will soon take the US-based company to task.

“It remains difficult to precisely estimate the activity (of websites such as Airbnb) because they are not domiciled in France and not listed on the Paris stock exchange,” the report by MPs Eric Woerth and Monique Rabin said.

"They are also not subject to the annual requirement to disclose their accounts. It seems that their figures remain secret,” said Woerth.

It's not just in France that Airbnb has made enemies with authorities and the traditional hotel industry. Barcelona has been forced draw up battle plans to deal with Airbnb and in Berlin two thirds of the city's tourist flats were deemed illegal.


Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available