MILAN, June 10 (Reuters) - Italy's tax police believe Booking.com evaded 153 million euros of value added tax (VAT) in connection with holiday rentals booked through its platform, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
The Genoa police said in a statement they "uncovered a massive tax evasion of more than 150 million euros in unpaid VAT from 2013 to 2019 by a multinational online travel agency based in the Netherlands", without mentioning the company by name.
The police said their tax audit was conducted as part of a criminal investigation led by prosecutors in the northwestern coastal town.
The move comes days after an agreement by the Group of Seven rich countries' to create a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15% to squeeze more money out of multinational web companies and reduce their incentive to shift profits to low-tax offshore havens.
Colonel Ivan Bixio, head of the Genoa police group leading the investigation, told Reuters the sort of evasion they had uncovered "generates huge profits to the beneficiaries, harming public budgets and altering the rules of competition."