Airbnb locks horns with Athens
by NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU, ekathimerini.com, 21 November
In its first public statement on Greek tax affairs, Airbnb took a tough stance against the Greek government and
refused to share the tax details of the property owners with whom it cooperates with the Greek state.
The short-term property lease website announced a few days ago that "hosts on Airbnb want to pay their share of
tax and we want to help but in respect of their privacy. Personal data are subject to strict rules to protect privacy
and we want to work together on a better way forward. Airbnb routinely shares information with Greece on the impacts
of home sharing. Personal data is shared only through a valid legal request pursuant to national and European data
The US-headquartered home-sharing firm therefore refuses to supply the tax registration numbers of its property
owners, even though it knows that multiple property entries by the same owner aimed at tax-free investment utilization
concerns at least 40 percent of its customers in Greece.
According to Greek law, owners are not allowed to lease out more than two properties per tax registration number
unless they set up a company for that purpose and are taxed accordingly. This is why it is crucial to distinguish
owners who just top up their income from those who let properties for short periods as a professional/investment
According to Airbnb, the average annual takings of Greek owners last year came to 2,375 euros, while the average
occupancy stood at just three days per month. However, this is far from representative as it also includes thousands
of properties listed without having a single visitor and therefore no revenues, as they have been incorrectly registered
or are simply located in unpopular areas.
The vast majority of Greek owners on Airbnb appear to "forget" to declare their revenues from this activity to
the tax authorities, knowing that the monitoring mechanism is unable to cross-check and inspect their revenues
because their guests are typically foreign citizens who would not declare their expenditure to the Greek authorities.