Updated 8 January 2018: The Hacienda has confirmed that tourist rental housing platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway will have to submit a declaration (modelo 179) to the tax authorities from July this year providing information about the properties being advertised, including their catastral numbers, as well as details of the owners and clients of those properties, and periodic reports about activity related to the rentals including the number of days for which rentals were booked and the amount that was charged. Bear in mind that although this comes into force in July, it will be applicable to the whole tax year, and so from now. The Hacienda says that the declaration will be obligatory for all intermediation services, whether individuals, businesses or online portals. Tourist use is defined for these purposes as the temporary provision of an entire furnished and equipped property for financial gain regardless of how it was marketed or promoted. Anyone in any doubt at all should seek advice from their accountant or tax adviser.
Original post 17 September 2017: The Spanish tax authorities are preparing legislation that would oblige “collaborative platforms” that act as intermediaries in the rental of tourist accommodation to produce periodic statements identifying the owners of the properties being advertised and the amounts for which the rentals are offered. The news has gone down badly with the Asociación Española de la Economía Digital (Spanish Digital Economy Association) which says that the proposals violate current legislation governing freedom of enterprise, and are a brake on innovation.
Currently, digital tourist accommodation platforms are considered Information Service Providers and are governed by Information Society Services legislation which follows guidelines set by the Electronic Commerce Directive and Data Protection Law. Under these regulations, their activity is purely technical and automated, which implies that they have no effective knowledge or control over the information transmitted or stored in their websites and applications. Adigital insists, therefore, that Hacienda’s intended legislation conflicts with existing law.
There have been notable attempts elsewhere and for various reasons to control what happens on the internet, and these have often proved fruitless, but the Hacienda is nonetheless clearly attempting to force these platforms to provide the tax authorities with information about their users on the grounds that it is attempting to obviate tax fraud. It will seek to require the platforms to provide full names and ID references, catastral numbers, length of rental, and amounts charged. Some compromise will be inevitable, it seems clear, but clearly the Hacienda is determined one way or another to tighten up its control of information and go after what it considers to be tax-dodging private holiday letting.