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Cultural Promotion Tax

Culture Promotion Tax in Cologne

Information regarding exemption from the culture promotion tax at hotels in Cologne

Since 1 October 2010, accommodation in Cologne has been subject to a culture promotion tax, also known as an accommodation or city tax. The tax amounts to five percent of the room price for accommodation in hotels, guest houses, youth hostels, privately rented accommodation and at camp sites.

Accommodation that is strictly necessary for business reasons is exempt from the tax. We therefore ask that guests staying at the hotel for business reasons submit a completed culture promotion tax exemption form when they check in at the hotel: Culture promotion tax exemption form. Once we have received the form, we will be able to deduct the five percent from your hotel bill.

Who has to pay the tax?

According to the ordinance: The hotel guest is liable for the tax. The operator of the accommodation is responsible for collecting the tax. That means if a guest does not provide a statement, in the required form, confirming that their trip is strictly necessary for business reasons, the operator is obliged to charge them the culture promotion tax and provide a tax notice and payment to Cologne’s municipal authorities.

If the party responsible for collecting the tax (the hotelier) does not collect and pay the culture promotion tax, and provide sufficient documentation, both they and the party that is liable for the tax (the guest) are subject to prosecution (source: Cologne municipal authorities, frequently asked questions regarding the culture promotion tax).

Accommodation taxes of this kind are common in the international hotel industry and are levied in cities including Amsterdam, Florence, Venice, Paris and Rome. The five percent culture promotion tax must be paid to the respective municipal authority and has been introduced in a number of cities. For further information please visit bettensteuer.de.