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The situation of the platform economy in Spain: conflict between government and competition authorities regarding digital platforms for holiday accommodation, such as Airbnb or Homeaway.

The situation of the platform economy in Spain: conflict between government and competition authorities regarding digital platforms for holiday accommodation, such as Airbnb or Homeaway.
Territorial aspects April 3, 2018

Following the previous post where the situation between the traditional sectors and the new digital platforms of Uber or Cabify type transport services was analyzed, this post will reflect on the situation of the digital platforms of tourist accommodation type Airbnb or HomeAway.

In this sense, there are several regulations that regulate tourist dwellings: regional regulations insofar as they regulate tourism, local regulations insofar as they regulate the urban planning of each municipality, and state regulations on tax matters.

Thus, recently in December 2017, the Ministry of Finance approved a decree that establishes obligations for digital hosting platforms by having to transfer data on the providers of such platforms to the public administration in order to control their compliance with their tax obligations.

The platforms argue that they are merely intermediaries and not providers and are therefore reluctant to provide such data: their legal qualification is important in order to see to what extent obligations may or may not be required of them, but it seems logical that, since digitisation allows transactions and exchanges to be traced, such data can be used to reduce tax fraud.

Some of these obligations of the Decree of the Ministry of Finance, however, have been understood by the Spanish competition authorities (CNMC) as disproportionate, in that they would ask the platforms for data that they do not have; other regional competition authorities such as the Catalan one have also expressed themselves in the same way.

The conflict will be resolved in the coming months and we will continue to follow it closely as an example of how an EU Member State is tackling and regulating the new digital platforms.

More information on this topic can be read here or here (in Spanish).