Introduction of the culture and tourism tax in Hamburg - Visitor satisfaction is our number one priority.

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is introducing a culture and tourism tax on 1 January 2013. The introduction of the tax is a political decision which has given rise to much controversy in the city and will no doubt continue to be discussed in the future. On a positive note, the Senate has made a political promise: 100% of the revenue is to be invested in tourist, cultural and sporting projects which enhance the image of Hamburg and therefore ultimately boost the tourist economy. With the introduction of the culture and tourism tax Hamburg is following the example of a series of international cities such as New York, Barcelona or Zurich, which have been levying these duties for years. A tourism duty for seasoned travellers visiting Hamburg is therefore nothing new.

The "Hamburg Solution": Unlike in other German cities and municipalities, the duty is not intended simply to disappear into the main housekeeping pot. Levying the culture and tourism tax should mean that more money is available for culture and also for sports events and promoting tourism. All organisations involved in tourism, and therefore visitors to Hamburg especially, should benefit from this special "Hamburg solution". The tourist industry in the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg will in future judge those in authority according to their political promise and will pay close attention to how the money is spent. Amongst all the heated discussions on the introduction of the tax it is important not to lose sight of one important aim - namely that visitors to Hamburg should not bear the burden of this tax. The satisfaction of our visitors is essential to how we do business. Because satisfied customers come back! Hamburg Tourismus and Hamburg Marketing GmbH will do their utmost to pursue this aim in terms of the destination and the tourist industry.

What will be taxed under the culture and tourism tax?

Obtaining an accommodation agreement for money will be taxed. This can be, for example, rooms in hotels, motels, boarding houses or guest houses. It is immaterial whether the accommodation provided is actually used for an overnight stay. In other words, so-called day rooms are included. Overnight stays for essential professional purposes are not taxed. Only short-term accommodation arrangements which extend over a period of less than two months will be included in the tax.

On whom is the culture and tourism tax levied?

The culture and tourism tax is levied as a so-called "indirect tax". This means that tax falls on the accommodation provider, which can in turn charge the guest accommodated. However, there is no obligation to pass the tax on to the guest.

So who actually has to pay the culture and tourism tax?

Private travellers will pay the culture and tourism tax. Because : In July the German Federal Administrative Court determined that overnight stays for essential professional purposes must not be included in such a tax. According to the latest draft, business travellers must prove the reason for their stay using an online document (see Employer's Confirmation Form) and will be exempt from the tax.

How much will the culture and tourism tax be?

The tax rate is calculated according to the net payment for the stay (excluding VAT). A sliding scale applies. From 1 January 2013 the tax per staying guest and per day amounts to between 0.50 euros (for accommodation costing 10.01 to 25.00 euros) and four euros (for accommodation costing up to 200.00 euros). For every additional 50.00 euros of the net payment or part thereof, the tax increases by one euro each time. This means, for example, for accommodation costing 250.00 euros the tax will be five euros. Business travellers are excluded from the arrangement.

Will the culture and tourism tax be shown separately on the bill?

There is no stipulation on this. However, the accommodation provider concerned in each case can refer on the bill to the tourism tax which has been passed on. For example: "Net price for accommodation 46.00 euros (includes 1.00 euro culture and tourism tax).

Where can I get further information on the culture and tourism tax?

On this website or at you will find all the essential information on the culture and tourism tax.

In addition to the taxation forms including annexes, you will find all the relevant information leaflets on this page. Instructions.

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