The bed tax levied by numerous cities for private hotel overnight stays is compatible with the Basic Law. The Federal Constitutional Court dismissed the constitutional complaints raised by several hotel operators in Hamburg, Bremen and Freiburg im Breisgau as unfounded. The judges in Karlsruhe explained their decision on Tuesday that the tax does not place an excessive burden on the companies concerned. The states would also have had the power to enact the relevant law.
According to the decision of the First Senate, the cities could also impose a bed tax on professional overnight stays for constitutional reasons. This makes it possible to even extend the tax to hotel accommodation.
The bed tax has been levied by more and more cities for years. Individuals staying in hotels or guesthouses have to pay a tax per night. Municipalities introduced a bed tax to compensate for the resulting loss of income, especially after the VAT for hotel accommodation was reduced from 19 percent to seven percent in 2010.
So far, however, it has only been collected from private individuals. Business travelers are exempt from the tax because the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig considered such a distinction to be necessary in 2012. However, this has not yet been seen by the Federal Constitutional Court.