Surely you have noticed that the prices in Berlin’s hostels and hotels have risen in the last month. This is due to the new City Tax which private travelers have to pay since the beginning of 2014. The City Tax is an accommodation tax for private overnight stays for a maximum of 21 days. The City Tax counts for five per cent of the net room price and does not include any additional services such as breakfast, parking or late check-out.
The additional income created by the accommodation tax will go directly to the city of Berlin and is meant to support the cultural sector, for instance. Most of the tourists in Berlin visit the city because of its cultural offer. Many independent artists are upset because they don’t get enough financial support from the government. This problem, amongst others, will be addressed with the city tax. However, it’s not clear what exactly will happen with the extra income from the City Tax.
The City Tax already exists in many other German cities. Cologne was one of the first German cities to implement the tax in autumn 2010. Meanwhile, the accommodation tax exists, amongst others, in Aachen, Bremen, Dortmund, Erfurt, Gera, Jena and Weimar. The difference between the City Tax and the visitor’s tax in health resorts is that the visitor tax is paid by the tourist to the hotelier and the City Tax is paid by the hotelier itself. However, as hotels and hostels don’t want to miss out on profit, the room prices rise and the tourist has to pay more in the end.
Generally, the accommodation tax in all cities is used to support the tourism product. For instance, Hamburg wants to use the money to finance exhibitions, events and festivals. The German hotel- and restaurant federation (Dehoga) says that taxes can’t be used for a specific purpose and therefore, the accommodation tax first of all only goes into the German budget.
The room prices on our website already include the accommodation tax. The handling of this tax varies from hostel to hostel. Some accommodations only add the tax to the price upon arrival of the guest. Other hostels (like us) include the City Tax in the room price from the beginning on. Like this, we want to prohibit that additional, unexpected costs occur upon arrival.
Please note – not everybody has to pay the City Tax! Business travelers don’t have to pay the tax if they proof that they are traveling to Berlin for a business purpose. Either the business makes the reservation for the employee or the company’s address serves as the billing address. Apart from that, the guest can hand in a document at the hostel which frees the guest from the City Tax.
Not only business travelers are freed from the City Tax but also guests traveling with an educational purpose. That means that schools or Universities on an official educational trip to Berlin don’t have to pay the City Tax. As well as business travelers, school groups also have to hand in a document at the hostel which frees the group from the City Tax. So, if you are a teacher or a student, you don’t have to pay the tax. Also, you’ll benefit from all our group specials. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you the required information.
If you have any other questions about the City Tax, just look at the website of berlin.de. No matter if you are travelling on a private or business purpose to Berlin – hopefully we see each other soon here at the Industriepalast :).
Written by Norma
Blogger and receptionist at Industriepalast
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.