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The Taxi Project 2.0 platform has denounced the Uber company to the Economic Crime Prosecutor's Office for a crime against public finances and another for a document scam. The complainants, represented by the firm Vosseler Abogados, consider that Uber allegedly used a corporate framework to avoid paying taxes and that, based on a report by the consulting firm Ekona, he was allegedly stopped paying taxes in Spain thanks to his tax engineering.
The lawyer Leire López, from Vosseler Abogados, assured that the company does not declare as a transport service but rather one of application and transmission of information and that it is the drivers who must declare the taxes for their economic activity, equating themselves to taxi drivers. For the lawyer, there are judgments of European Union courts that detail that the activity of Uber is the transport of passengers and that it must pay for the trips.
In addition, the lawyer details that for each service the company charges between 20 and 30% to the user for the computer application and that this amount "is diverted to Uber Holland and from there to tax havens", such as Singapore, Caribbean countries or the state of Delaware in the United States, so "from that percentage neither Corporation Tax nor VAT is being taxed". The complainants detail that they have analyzed the 2018 exercise of Uber and that it has an alleged defrauded fee of 5.1 million euros, although they consider that the amount may be higher if it is taken into account that the company began operating in 2014 in Spain.
For his part, the coordinator and spokesman for Taxi Project 2.0, Tito Álvarez, considers that he is cheating millions of euros from the State at a delicate economic moment due to the health crisis for the situation and announced that they want to join with other sectors, such as distributors, to "fight those from below against those from above" against the new economic model that wants to "take away labor rights". For this reason, he pointed out that it is about "organizing to defend ourselves."
The economic report on which the presented complaint is based "analyzes and describes the business model, the corporate structure and its tax practices, concluding that, in his opinion, Uber would base its business strategy on tax evasion." For this reason, several administrators and companies related to this transport service are accused. They consider that allegedly "the corporate framework of Uber is aimed at tax evasion through the simulation of non-existent intra-community operations", from the payment for the displacement and the use of the application, a part that supposedly is not taxed, within the same service.
In this sense, they detail that "their income statement does not reflect the reality of the activity of the Uber group in Spain, so it practically does not pay taxes to the Spanish Treasury, given that its declared benefits are almost non-existent." The report highlights that in 2017 "the Spanish subsidiary declared benefits for only 163,514 euros despite the fact that the declared income was 2.9 million euros, paying Corporation Tax only 53,817 euros" and adds that in the financial year 2018, "Uber Systems Spain, SL declared income of 16.7 million euros and a profit of just 979,914 euros, paying 325,380 euros in Corporate Tax".
The taxi platform indicates that the economic report of the company, as a legal entity, should be subject to paying the "VAT for the general regime (not for the simplified one like taxi drivers, natural persons). Therefore, it should be Uber who collected and declared the VAT by general regime, and not directly the taxi drivers by simplified regime, as it happens now ".
The complaint simulates the company's annual income, taking into account the average price of 15 euros per journey and 17 million trips per year, which offers a figure of 255 million euros in 365 days, of which the company 20% remains. For the taxi platform, Uber obtained an annual income much higher, up to four times more, than the annual accounts of the Spanish subsidiary declare. On this amount, they indicate that they should have paid the corresponding 10% VAT but they consider that they presumably did not do so or the tax paid was less, so they believe that an alleged fraud could have been committed against the Treasury, at least in the 2017 and 2018.
He also points out that "the expert report considers that all the companies related to Uber constitute a single real company under the guise of a false group formed with the aim of defrauding the law, to the specific detriment of the Spanish Public Treasury" and details that the company "Carries out its transport activity in Spain, but thanks to its imaginative scheme, it is not taxed in Spain for this concept, since all its income (20-30% of each race) is disguised as compensation for its digital services and is sent directly to Holland to Uber BV ".
"To avoid taxes, Uber separates its commission from the total invoice of the race paid by the user. The user pays the service to the driver, and also pays a percentage for this digital intermediation, which does not exist as a separate reality. The commission Uber is channeled, as already explained to tax havens, in royalties for the remuneration of an intellectual property that serves as a 'black box' that allows it to abuse the law, "indicates the report presented to the Prosecutor's Office.
The complainants also point out that, according to the report, "the client thinks, or at least could have thought it at the beginning, that the service was provided in solidarity, without charging a commission" by the companies. However, they consider that "this commission you are paying is established as a new service with respect to the driver's service, when it has already been established that there is no service other than transportation. The client is misleadingly charged the amount entirely through Uber's payment system, without him knowing that in reality, he is theoretically paying for two separate services. "
For this reason, they assure that the client "is being harmed given that he is acquiring a service for which he thinks he pays VAT", while in reality in the scheme designed by Uber they presumably conceptualize it as two services, and one of them, the commission of the company, "do not pay". This is also not clear in the receipts delivered to users. As a means to achieve the above, Uber avoids issuing an invoice for its services to the user, who is the one who pays for the service, but merely submits a mere receipt, "indicates the complaint.
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