Airbnb cuts thousands of listings in New York City

HOUSING

Airbnb cuts back New York City listings

Airbnb said it kicked 2,233 more listings off its platform in New York City, seeking to weed out hosts who violate its policies as New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) weighs whether to sign legislation that would make it illegal to advertise multiple listings.

The 2,233 listings, which amount to about 5 percent of those on the home-sharing website in the city, “appeared to be hosts with multiple listings that could impact long-term housing availability,” Airbnb said Thursday in a statement.

Airbnb, which is raising money at a $30 billion valuation, is facing regulatory pressure from two of its largest U.S. cities, New York and its home town, San Francisco. Airbnb is suing San Francisco for passing a law that would fine the company for listing units that are not registered with the city. Airbnb argues that the new requirements violate federal law and the company’s First Amendment rights.

Officials in New York and San Francisco are concerned that Airbnb is causing housing to be taken off the market, further crowding the limited supply in those cities. Critics argue that housing that would otherwise be rented out or sold is being listed on Airbnb instead.

— Bloomberg News

TAXES

IRS seeks Facebook records in assets case

Signaling a shift in enforcement tactics against big companies that make money from intellectual property, federal tax officials have sought a court order demanding internal corporate records related to one of Facebook’s offshore tax strategies.

Arguing that the social-media giant missed a deadline last month to turn over such information, the Internal Revenue Service filed a petition July 6 in federal court in San Francisco seeking documents and records for the 2010 tax year. That year, Facebook shifted the global rights for many of its intangible assets — outside of the United States and Canada — to a subsidiary in low-tax Ireland. The IRS claims that, for tax purposes, Facebook understated the value of those assets by billions of dollars.

The agency’s court petition is the latest evidence that it is applying new, tighter scrutiny to large, IP-driven companies. Tax lawyers say the IRS is becoming more aggressive as it tries to ferret out the companies’ tax-avoidance strategies.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

The United States is seeking trade sanctions against India after winning a dispute at the World Trade Organization regarding Indian restrictions on imports of U.S. poultry meat, eggs and live pigs, the WTO said Friday. The U.S. trade representative’s office has previously said U.S. annual exports of poultry meat to India could exceed $300 million once the restrictions are removed.

The European Union is bolstering its original antitrust investigation into Google’s search engine as regulators asked the company’s critics to declassify details of meetings and email exchanges related to the probe, according to people familiar with the case. That is typically a final step before the E.U. files an antitrust complaint.

China is considering providing about 10 of its state-owned enterprises with an aid package, people familiar with the matter said. Should the plan be approved, it would mark the government’s latest effort to provide relief to state firms, many of which are struggling with overcapacity and slumping demand as the economy grows at its slowest pace in about 25 years.

British property funds with about $23.4 billion in assets froze withdrawals amid investor efforts to dump real estate holdings in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Investors are pulling money from British property funds as analysts warn that London office values could fall by as much as 20 percent within three years of the exit from the E.U. 

— From news services

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