In future, the Airbnb rental platform will have to release tax control data to the federal and state authorities. As is well known, rental income is taxable if it exceeds EUR 520 per year and the total income exceeds the basic allowance (EUR 9408 for singles). If higher revenues are not taxed, this is a punishable tax evasion which is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years or a fine according to § 370 of the German Fiscal Code (AO). Irrespective of criminal law considerations, the evaded taxes, including interest on arrears, are to be paid subsequently to the authorities. It may be advisable to file an exempting self-denunciation because of the taxes not paid in the past years, before the tax office and the tax investigation department take action.
In many larger cities, the tax investigation department is already setting up special units. In the future, not only tenancy agreements, but also short rentals for tourists will be particularly scrutinised. It is known that Airbnb is booming in Munich in the period of the Oktoberfest (with the exception of the year 2020 due to the coronavirus) and that ludicrous prices for rentals are achieved.In cities like Berlin, Düsseldorf and Hamburg similar conditions could exist. The Hamburg tax investigation department alone has already been able to prove over 200 cases of "black renting" in 2017, even without control data.
Lawyer Dennis Wiegard
Düsseldorf, den 08. September 2020