TOURIST TAX ? CITY TAX ? ACCOMODATION TAX?
WHAT IS IT?
The tourist tax was simply a tax first introduced by certain municipalities with the express intention to reinvest in tourism, including supporting accommodation facilities and the maintenance, use and recovery of local cultural and environmental assets. It can also be used to enhance related local public services.
HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN AROUND?
In fact, the very first tourist tax in Italy was introduced on 11 December 1910 with the seal of King Vittorio Emanuele III. The law provided for the tourist tax only in municipalities with hydrotherapy establishments, health resorts and seaside resorts. It was subsequently extended during the twenty years of fascism with the Royal Decree-Law of November 24, 1938, which extended the possibility of applying the tourist tax in all other Italian places of tourist interest. This law was then abolished on 1 January 1989 but was re-introduced as part of the tax reform of 2009, giving local authorities the opportunity to take advantage of some additional tax collections. The first provision regarding the tourist tax was adopted only in the capital of Rome. The rest of Italy came on board in March 2011 giving some other (but not all) Italian municipalities the go ahead to establish the tax. Currently, it is applied only in the provincial capitals, certain unions of municipalities and those municipalities included in the regional lists of tourist resorts or cities of art. The latter, of course, is pretty much able to be applied in many, many cities across Italy.
WHO HAS TO PAY IT?
The tourist tax is a fixed tax required to be paid by tourists, or people staying in the accommodation facilities of those designated municipalities. The accommodation facility, whether hotel or non-hotel, takes on the role the collecting agent. The host, in fact, has the obligation to collect the tourist tax according to the procedures established by the municipality.
WHERE MUST IT BE PAID?
The tax is typically paid on departure from any accommodation facility. It is required that accommodation staff request this payment from each guest or booking covering each guest. Some establishments (especially the smaller ones) ask for it to be paid, in cash, separately to the bill for accommodation, others will accept it as a credit card charge. You need to establish the requirements for each accommodation venue. Not all municipalities charge it so you do need to ask when booking.
HOW IS IT CHARGED & HOW MUCH IS IT?
Costs vary from 1 to 5 euros per night (can be up to 10 euros in high-rated hotels in Rome) depending on the type of accommodation and the stars of the hotel. In some cases it is decided to apply the one-off tourist tax, regardless of the nights of stay. Some places charge per person, per night for a minimum of 3 nights, others for a minimum of 5 nights. It does vary so, again, you need to ask when booking. In all cases it must be paid directly at the property where you are staying.
ARE THERE EXEMPTIONS?
Yes, some, and, yes again, it varies. The following are typically exempt: children up to 10 years (sometimes 14 years but also in some places 18); youth hostels; the sick; the disabled; carers of sick or disabled people (usually one per patient); parents of patients under the age of 18; drivers and tour leaders (usually one every 20/25 participants); residents and sometimes even the members of the registry office and, members of the armed forces. Exemptions must often present appropriate certification as to the state of residence, health or work. In some cases the tourist tax is provided only in certain periods of the year. In this case the fee is applied in periods of high and / or middle season, with the exception of low season.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
In all things, the responsibility of collecting the tax falls on the shoulders of the host or manager for whatever accommodation facility is being used. In general, the manager is obliged to: check the details of the guest and if he is not entitled to exemption, calculate the actual amount of the tourist tax for each person; ask and receive the payment of the tax; make and release a copy of the receipt of payment of the tax to the customer. Plus other responsibilities in paying and reporting to the relevant municipality.
BUT, YOU should always ask what the rate is and how it should be paid before you booked any accommodation.
Much better to be prepared than shocked to find you are asked to pay something you did not expect on departure.