Requirements for exception of the “culture tax” (“Kulturförderabgabe”) [updated II]

Tourist-Tax, Grafik: DEHOGA

Since December 1st 2014 the City of Cologne raises a new so called “Kulturförderabgabe” (“culture tax”). We have to add 5% to the price for lodging as this tax. Those who travel for work or business reasons do not need to pay this tax, if they hand out all the necessary documents at check-in. Please understand that we have to collect the tax anyway if the documents are not complete or have faults. These are the requirements:

For employed persons:

  1. The form „Erklärung des Beherbergungsgastes zur Kulturförderabgabe” (with all fields filled correctly and sighed).
  2. Confirmation of the employer
    1. A form for the necessary confirmation of the employer can be downloaded form the city’s website.
    2. If the confirmation of the employer is done not on this form, make sure it is in German language on business letter paper or with a business stamp. The employer has to certify doubtless that the accommodation of his employee was necessary for work-related mandatory reasons. The exact period of the stay must be named! (Link: phrasing assistance)
    3. “Other documents, which prove that the accommodation is or was necessary for work-related mandatory reasons.” Please be aware that the work-related mandatory reason can be checked by the city administration with your employer.

For self-employed persons:

  1. The form „Erklärung des Beherbergunsgastes zur Kulturförderabgabe” (with all fields filled correctly and sighed). You must put your fiscal authority for income tax on this form or have other documents.

Download-links for the forms and information by the City of Cologne about this tax:

This is the address for complaints about this procedure related to the City of Cologene:

Amt für Anregungen und Beschwerden
Ludwigstr. 8
50667 Köln
Fax: 0221-22126065

Free WiFi via Freifunk

Freifunk - Free WiFi spotThe Freifunk-WiFI-Hotspot has proven itself as quite reliable in our house since summer 2015. It offers free WiFi-Internet via the Freifunk-network. The availability of this non-commercial service can not be guaranteed. But this hotspot has also the advantage that no login is necessary.

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Culture tax? What you need to bear in mind as our guest!

From the 1st of December 2014 we must, just like all other hotels and guest houses, charge the so-called “culture tax” to our overnight guests on top of the room price itself. There is an exception for those guests who are staying in Cologne on a “compulsorily” basis, i.e. for work or business.

The cultural tax fee amounts to 5 percent of your accommodation costs, i.e. to be placed on top of the gross accommodation sale. It is the hotelier’s responsibility to collect the amount from the guest. Those who are staying on a “compulsory basis”, for work purposes, must fill out a corresponding form for “dependent employees” or for “businesspeople and the self-employed”. They shall, in addition to their personal data, also indicate their identification or passport number as well as their tax identification number, if they are self-employed. Employees must attach a signed statement from their employer to the form. If we do not receive all the required documentation we will have no choice but to add the culture promotion tax to the guest’s bill.

Guest staying in Cologne for work or business should therefore arrive at the hotel prepared:

  • As a dependent employee, you should have a signed statement from your employer, as well as your passport or personal identification with you.
  • As a businessperson or if you are self-employed, you should have your tax identification number as well as your passport or personal identification with you.

We shall then keep the relevant form at hand for you. It is, however, advisable to download the form before your trip and have it filled out upon arrival. You can find the form ready for download on the following page of the Cologne City website:

Please note this procedure applies to all guests, regardless of whether they stay in a single room or double room. Should the employer statement not include, for example, the accompanying wife of the guest, the fee is thereby levied in proportion!