The club has won a fight against a significant tax increase.
The decision came after a lengthy trial with Berlin's financial administration (Finanzamt für Körperschaften II) at Finanzgericht Berlin-Brandenburg, located in Cottbus outside Berlin.
Berlin clubs have been taxed at a rate of 19% since 2009, when tax authorities decided that they were places of "entertainment" rather than "culture"—businesses included in the latter bracket pay a 7% turnover tax, and include theatres, museums and concerts. The 2009 changes reversed a 2005 decision from the Federal Finance Court (Bundesfinanzhof), which ruled that a techno event can be a concert and, as such, should be taxed at 7%.
The new ruling marks a difference between "entertainment" and "culture"—not "high culture," which applies to opera houses, for example. Berghain is now placed in the tax class of theatres, concerts and museums. The club commissioned music and cultural writer Tobias Rapp, author of the book Lost And Sound, to write a report in support of its case, which argued that the majority of the people who attend Berghain do so for the music—just like at traditional concerts.
The 2009 reversal came after field research from tax authorities showed that events at clubs such as Berghain and Watergate are social events in which most people are not facing the DJ and many attendees are unaware of who is playing.
As yet, there's no word on what the ruling will mean for the tax status of other Berlin clubs.
Photo credit: BerlijnBlog