Supreme Courts officially recognise techno club events in Germany as concerts

In Germany, techno and house club events can now be considered to be “concert-like” events, thus lowering the tax rate on ticket sales, which would usually be paid by clubs, quite significantly. This decision was taken by the Berlin-Brandenburg fiscal court in Cottbus after ruling that Berghain, the famous nightclub in Berlin, contributes to a production of work that can be considered to be high culture. Rather than dismissing the purpose of their work as being solely for mere entertainment, the court decreed that their work is of cultural significance, thus it should be allowed to pay a reduced tax rate.

Prior to this ruling, clubs had to pay a VAT rate of 19% on entrance fees. This was the case due to a decision made by Berlin’s finance ministry in 2008 when, justified by their remark that Berghain had no stage or musical performances and thus could not be classified as a concert, they decreed that nightclubs should have to pay the same fee as other “entertainment events”. Now, however, the court has recognised that the people who purchase tickets to club and house events have mainly done so for the music and to listen to the DJs performances, thus classifying them as “concert-like” events. Due to this new ruling, the VAT rate on entrance fees has been reduced to 7%, a similar rate to that paid by theatres, museums and concert venues.

The judgement of this new decree states that:

“The performance of techno and house music by various DJs can give an event the character of a concert or a concert-like event even if the music performances take place regularly (weekly). The tendency of the audience to focus on the DJ and the emptying of the dance floor after a DJ set, as determined by the FG, clearly shows that the DJ – as usual at concerts – is in the foreground of the performance.”

In light of the current circumstances brought about by COVID-19 and the rather worrying situation for the economy of Germany’s entertainment industry, this news, brought up on 23rd July of this year but only published recently, has brought a ray of positivity and hope to the world of electronic music.

Image credit: Jullie Woodhouse via Image Broker

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