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Soon tourists may levy a “night tax” in more German cities

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Soon tourists may levy a “night tax” in more German cities

Recently, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled that hotels are required to collect Bettenstein (bed taxes) on behalf of local authorities. This could lead to municipalities levying “tourist taxes”.

Tourist fees of Germany

In Germany, local taxes are known as Bettensteinor bed taxes, in effect since 2005. Visitors staying in the cities are with them taxes obliged to pay if they are in a paid accommodation, which is usually a percentage of the cost of accommodation per guest. Usually this percentage is 5 percent and is usually automatically added to the bill. In some places a fixed rate is paid, for example, 3 euros per guest per night. In some cities, e.g. Hamburgthe tax is based on a sliding scale, so guests staying in more expensive accommodation pay a higher tax.

The tax is levied on German cities and municipalities because of the reduced value-added tax rate. Since 2010, hotel accommodation has been subject to a reduced tax rate of 7 percent, rather than the regular rate of 19 percent. In response, some municipalities and local authorities began imposing “overnight taxes.” In different cities and districts, taxes are known by different names, such as “tourist tax”, “residence tax” or “city tax”. Berlinfor example, in 2014 introduced its own “hotel tax”.

The tax is levied only on tourists, as a decision by the Federal Administrative Court in 2012 provided that all “professionally required” overnight stays are exempt from tax across the country.

The court ruled that “tourist taxes” are compatible with the Basic Law

The Bettenstein are going to hotels on behalf of municipalities. Recently, a number of hotel owners in Hamburg, Freiburg and Bremen complained to the Federal Constitutional Court that their fundamental rights are violated if they are required to levy taxes from their own guests. They also complained that collecting taxes takes up too much work for the administrator, as the tax is levied only on tourists and not on business trips.

The court ruled that c Bettenstein compatible with the Basic Law. It also argued that collecting the tax for government agencies is unpleasant, which means that hotel operators are obliged to collect it on their behalf. The court recognized the additional work it meant for hotels, but compared it to other mandatory tasks for entrepreneursfor example, filling out registration forms or VAT payment.

It is believed that the court’s decision could lead to the fact that more cities and districts in Germany charge tourists taxes overnight. The court also made no distinction between people traveling on business or on vacation, leading some to speculate that all overnight guests may be taxed in the future.

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