Amusement tax (Germany)

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The entertainment tax is a local expense tax , for which the legislative competence according to Art. 105 Abs. 2a GG lies with the federal states. The tax object is the (financial) expense of entertainment. Forms of the amusement tax are above all the taxation of entrance fees for events ( card tax ), gaming machines ( gaming device tax ) and, more recently, sexual services ( prostitution tax ).

The revenue from entertainment taxes goes to the communities. Across Germany, the amusement tax revenue amounted to 985 million euros in 2016.

Legal bases

With the exception of Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Bavaria and Saarland, all federal states have regulated the entertainment tax in their respective municipal tax laws and standardized the authorizations for the municipalities to levy this tax. In Saarland, a separate entertainment tax law provides the basis for the enactment of municipal entertainment tax statutes. The municipalities can make use of this authorization basis, but are not obliged to do so.

In Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen the states have their own entertainment tax laws, as there is no system of independent municipalities here. There, the federal states levy entertainment taxes directly.

Forms of the amusement tax

Since the entertainment tax is subject to the legislation of the federal states and these only authorize the municipalities to issue their own entertainment tax statutes, it is levied according to very different regulations in all parts of Germany. In principle, the municipalities are free to decide whether and if so in what form they levy this tax.

Card tax

The so-called ticket tax is understood to mean those forms of entertainment tax that tax a chargeable event, i.e. that is often included in the price of the ticket. Examples of this are, above all, dance events in discos , film screenings or “barn festivals”.

The tax amount is determined on the basis of the price or number of tickets issued , by means of lump sums or according to typical characteristics, such as B. at events according to the size of the room or the space available.

Slot machine tax

The subject of this form of amusement tax is chargeable gaming machines with or without the possibility of making a profit. The number of devices, sales or a flat rate is usually used as a yardstick.

Revenue from the slot machine tax 1990-2018

The earlier entertainment tax based on the number of play equipment (also known as the machine tax or flat rate tax) was controversial. According to a ruling by the Federal Administrative Court in 1999, the basis for the flat rate tax should be a “loose relationship” between the amount of money spent on playing the game (stake) of the individual player and the tax rate . This is no longer observed if the average profit from individual machines of an operator deviates by more than 50% from the average profit from all slot machines in the statutory area. In 2005, the Hamburg Higher Administrative Court submitted the question of the constitutionality of the flat-rate tax to the Federal Constitutional Court for a decision, since at least for the city of Hamburg the aforementioned "loose reference" was not given. Some machine operators refer to the counters prescribed in the winning devices since January 1st, 1997, which could precisely document how much money flowed into the device or was distributed again. They demand taxation based on the gaming turnover of the individual device. The municipalities, however, stuck to the flat rate tax.

With a ruling of February 4, 2009, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that taxation based on the number and location of the machines, as previously regulated in the Hamburg gaming tax, is contrary to the constitutional principles. Most of the larger communities that levy an entertainment tax based on grossing income levy a rate of 10 to 13% based on sales, regardless of location and number of devices.

The revenue from gaming machine tax rose in recent years from € 190 million (2006) to € 1,071 million (2018).

Prostitution tax

After the repeal of the immorality of prostitution ( Prostitution Act ), the city of Cologne introduced a sex tax . According to the Cologne tax statute, swinger clubs , striptease bars, etc. pay 3 euros per day for every 10 square meters of space, while a flat rate of 6 euros per sexual service provider per day is charged for prostitution (Section 2 No. 6 and 7 of the pleasure tax statute of the City of Cologne dated December 19, 2003). The Cologne Administrative Court dismissed four actions against this taxation of prostitution in 2007.

The city of Bonn had a tax ticket machine set up at which prostitutes have had to pull a permit ticket for 6 euros for the practice of their trade on the street since August 2011 for the time from 8:15 pm to 6:00 am . The city's revenue from the machines is falling significantly: from € 45,000 in 2013 to € 33,000 in 2016 to just € 23,800 in 2018.

The city of Soltau levies entertainment tax on the offer of sexual acts for a fee, for example in accommodation establishments, caravans and motor vehicles.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Ministry of Finance (accessed on November 9, 2019)
  2. ^ Archived copy ( Memento of February 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Bay. State Ministry of the Interior
  3. Saarland Amusement Tax Act
  4. BVerwG, judgment of December 22, 1999 - 11 CN 1. 99 , accessed on November 10, 2011.
  5. BVerfG, decision of the First Senate of February 4, 2009 - 1 BvL 8/05 , accessed on November 10, 2011
  6. Bremische Bürgschaft: Draft of a law amending the Amusement Tax Act , Drs. 17/966 (PDF; 92 kB), accessed on November 10, 2011.
  7. Hans-Günther Vieweg: Economic development of entertainment machines 2014 and Outlook 2014 , Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich , p. 23 f. ( online )
  8. Federal Statistical Office, Finances and Taxes, 1. − 4. Quarter of 2015 ( Memento from June 6, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Overview on the homepage of the Verband der Deutschen Automatenindustrie e. V. (VDAI)
  10. Federal Statistical Office, Finances and Taxes, 1. − 4. Quarter of 2018
  11. Press release VG Köln from July 11, 2007 ( memento from July 30, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on November 10, 2011.
  12. Sexsteuer-Automat brings Bonn 35,000 euros , accessed on August 27, 2012
  13. Prostitution on Immenburgstrasse - What to do with the street prostitute in Bonn? , accessed on August 23, 2019