“In order for the city of Rome not to tax Romans, we have decided to tax the tourists,” said Councillor Federico Guidi.
On December 2, the Roman authorities confirmed that the “Contributo di Soggiorno” levy will go ahead on January 1, 2011. This will apply at a rate of €3 per night for four- and five-star hotels, and €2 per night for other accommodation. Children under 2 and youth hostels are the only exemptions from the tax.
The levy will be paid on the spot before check-out by the person staying at the hotel. The maximum number of nights taxable per stay is ten.
Guests will be advised about the tax upon arrival by written notices, in different languages. It is not clear how many languages and which ones. Nor is it clear what sanction can be placed on the clients should they choose not to pay this levy.
Starting from January 1, hotels will have to collect the tax from their guests; but they may wait to transfer the money until July. After that, they have to do it every 3 months. While it is the hotel’s responsibility to extract the money from the guests, tour operators can opt for an advance payment deposit so they can pay on their clients’ behalf. ETOA feels that this is like being on a plane and being charged extra to leave. As the Comune will be extracting money with an “instant” tax, tour operators should not be expected to do this work for them.
It has not been clarified if the tax attracts IVA (VAT). Alessandro Vannini, President of the Commission for Tourism and Fashion, conceded that the first few months could be chaotic but stated that is how they are going to raise money.
The Comune is saying they want to allocate 5% of the total monies received from the supposed € 80million to “generic tourist services.” At the meeting they declined to explain to ETOA what this phrase meant.
This tax is not finalized, though implementation seems likely. The final confirmation is unlikely to come before December 20. It may yet be challenged in the local courts.
In the meantime, ETOA will be producing an advisory for members to share with clients and business partners to explain the situation in clear terms.