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June 2, 2016

French tax authorities demand €356m from Booking.com

News: The unpaid taxes claimed by French authorities mainly include penalties and interest.

By CBR Staff Writer

French tax authorities have asked Booking.com, the online accommodation booking company, to pay €356m in unpaid taxes.

Operating under the parent company Priceline Group, Booking.com disclosed the tax demand in a filing before the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

In the filings, the Netherlands-based company mentioned that French authorities are seeking €356m in unpaid taxes for the period between 2003 and 2012.

The French government claimed that Booking.com has a base in France and is therefore obliged to pay income tax and value-added tax.

French magazine Paris Match reported in December 2015 that French tax authorities notified Booking.com of a tax evaluation of about €356m, the majority of which is in the form of penalties and interest for tax evasion.

Priceline considers Booking.com to have complied with the French tax law. It stated that it will try to resolve the issue with tax authorities in France and when the process fails it plans to challenge the tax evaluation in French courts.

Booking.com added that before it challenges tax authorities in a court of law, it first needs to pay the amount upfront either in full or a majority of the amount, though any such payment would not make up admission that it owes the tax.

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Apart from French authorities, the company is also under scrutiny for additional tax obligations in Italy.

Recently, Google‘s office in Paris was raided by French authorities, who suspect the search engine giant had been resorting to tax avoidance.

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