The Strategist

Airbnb to refuse Payoneer cards

12/13/2017 - 13:04

The scandal, which erupted in France around Airbnb last week due to Payoneer credit cards, was resolved after a meeting of the company's representatives with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and the country's budget minister Gérald Darmanin. The management of the mobile service decided not to provoke the authorities and simply refuse to use these cards.

BTO via flickr
BTO via flickr
On Monday evening, the Ministry of Economy of France hosted a meeting of the head of Airbnb’s French division Emmanuel Marill with the Minister of Finance Bruno Le Mair and the Minister of Budget Gérald Darmanin. The reason was Payoneer payment cards, which the mobile rental service offered to landlords in order to receive rewards. However, the French authorities considered that such a method of payment could be an aid in concealing income from the tax service.

Airbnb has been using Payoneer credit cards since 2014. The company, which provides financial services, is based in New York, and its European branch is located in Gibraltar. In turn, Gibraltar has a law on bank secrecy, which means it is not possible to find out exactly how much landlords received from the service as a reward for renting a house. The only source of data on these revenues is the tax return.

"Too much pointed to the possible money laundering with this method of payment. The government should have reacted, "- the Ministry of Finance of France explained after the meeting. As a result, the service management decided not to use these credit cards in future, so as not to incur unnecessary suspicions. Meanwhile, the company noted that "all payment methods offered by Airbnb to homeowners, including Payoneer, are legal and have the necessary licenses so that they can be used in France." "Nevertheless, Airbnb responds to concerns of the authorities related to possible violations of the law and credit cards currently available to less than 1% of landlords in France," the service statement said.

The fact that homeowners – partners of Airbnb - can receive their cash reward not on a bank account, but on a Payoneer credit card, became known on December 1. Radio France Info reported that such a practice exists since 2014. "There is a banking secret in Gibraltar. Banks, therefore, do not provide information on the incomes of customers receiving income from Airbnb, "- lawyer in the field of taxation Anthony Bohm explained on the air of France Info. Thus, the French tax service could never learn about the availability of income from citizens from the delivery of housing through the service. Therefore, the authorities believe that such practice contributes to tax evasion.