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Airbnb to give French cities 13.5 million euros in tourist tax

Ludovic Marin, AFP | Paris is the world's most popular city for Airbnb rentals.

The home-sharing website and app Airbnb said Monday it will pay 13.5 million euros in tourist tax to cities across France. The tax was automatically collected with each booking made in 50 different French cities in 2017.

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As Airbnb’s top destination city worldwide, Paris will receive the largest share, at 6.9 million euros, the company said in a statement. The Mediterranean coastal town of Nice will scoop 860,000 euros and Marseille will receive 790,000 euros. France’s popular Alpine ski resorts are to get more than 550,000 euros. Airbnb plans to roll out the automatic tax system to 15,000 towns and cities in France in Spring 2018.

The money is double the amount the company paid in 2016, and is part of a renewed drive to mollify French authorities who are cracking down on the US-based company. Mayors in Paris accuse Airbnb of contributing to a housing shortage and a decline in the city's population. Luxury ‘palace’ hotels such as Le Bristol and Plaza Athénée, as well as smaller hotels, have complained that Airbnb presents unfair competition without having to abide by the same regulations.

In November last year, Airbnb introduced a cap on how many days users can rent out their property every year. The maximum fine for not keeping to the 120-day limit is 50,000 euros. In December, France’s National Assembly allowed regional authorities to increase the daily tourist tax (known as ‘taxe de séjour’ in French) to between 1 and 5 per cent of the nightly rate per person.

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