Matteo Colombo/Getty Images
Jess McHugh
August 11, 2016

Vacation rental giant Airbnb found itself embroiled in controversy Thursday after French newspaper Le Parisien reported that the company, soon to be valued at $30 billion after a new round of investment, paid less than €70,000—about US$77,000—in taxes in 2015 in France.

The figure was 18 percent less than it had paid in 2014, according to the same report.

Paris is one of Airbnb’s most popular destinations: The company declared €4.96 million in revenue, and €97,205 in profit in 2015, according to the same report.

News of Airbnb’s tax payments came less than a month after the company announced it had welcomed more than 10 million visitors to France since expanding to the country in 2008. Leadership at the company has said Airbnb follows all applicable tax laws.

“Airbnb abides by the fiscal laws of the countries in which it operates," the Californian company said in a statement to Reuters, adding that its office in France “provides marketing services and pays all applicable taxes.”

As Airbnb has steadily expanded around the world throughout the past several years, the company has looked to pitch itself as a source of economic growth for the countries in which it operates. A November press release touted that Airbnb had contributed €2.5 billion in additional economic opportunity while supporting 13,300 jobs.

Former budget minister Éric Woerth told Parliament in a 2014 report that the revenue from online rental sites like Airbnb was difficult to “precisely estimate,” adding that they “seemed to make sure their turnover was kept secret.”

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