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Holland, Amsterdam city tax or tourist tax

Most – but not all - municipalities in the Netherlands charge a so-called ‘tourist tax’. Owners of hotels, guesthouses, hostels and camping have to pay a certain amount per overnight stay. Most municipalities in The Netherlands levying this tax, however, use the returns in two different ways:

- In most municipalities, returns are added to the general funds of a municipality. This means the returns are used for general projects and maintenance of infrastructure, public space, etc. This use of tourist tax is justified by the fact that tourists benefit from facilities which –otherwise - should be financed only by taxes paid by the inhabitants of the concerning municipality;

- In a relatively small number of municipalities, tourist tax returns can only be used for specific purposes and cannot be added to the general funds. Self- evidently, in the case of tourist tax, this ‘specific purpose’ will almost always be tourism.

How is tourist tax levied?

Municipalities are free to decide in which way tourist tax is levied. Most municipalities apply the same method: all entrepreneurs who are offering facilities to stay overnight to people who are not an inhabitant of the concerning town are subject to taxation. In practice, this concerns hotels, pensions, apartments, bungalows and campsites. In fact, the term ‘tourist tax’ is somewhat misleading: the purpose of the person’s visit is not relevant. Entrepreneurs also have to pay for people who are staying for business- purposes.

Entrepreneurs recoup the tourist tax from the visitor using the accommodations. Most entrepreneurs add the tax to the tariff they charge per night per visitor.

Municipalities differ in rates they charge:

- The tariff differs from municipality to municipality from less than € 0,50 to even over four euros per person per night;

- Some municipalities charge a fixed rate for all visitors, other municipalities apply a differentiation, for example:

- Different tariffs for different types of accommodation: camping’s, guesthouses, apartments and hotels. Some municipalities even discern between different classes of hotels;

- A reduced tariff for children;

- For individual places on a campsite that are rented for a whole season, a fixed rate per year is often applied;