This article provides specific information about local laws that apply to people who host their homes in Bern. Just like our country article for Switzerland, it’s your responsibility to verify and comply with any obligations that apply to you as a host. This article can serve as a starting point or place you can come back to if you have questions but it isn’t exhaustive and it doesn’t constitute legal or tax advice. It’s a good idea to check to make sure laws and procedures are current.
Some of the laws that might affect you are complicated. Contact the City of Bern, or consult another local authority, such as an attorney or tax professional, if you have questions. Check Bern’s website and the city tax office for more information about registering as a lodging establishment, paying collected taxes, and obtaining Bern Tickets for your guests.
The Canton of Bern levies a cantonal tourist tax of currently CHF 1 for overnight stays in the territory of the canton. In addition to that, the municipalities in the canton may levy a local spa tax (Kurtaxe) and/or a tourism promotion tax. The cantonal tourist tax is usually collected with the local spa tax.
Check the Canton of Bern’s administrative site for more information about these taxes and possible exemptions.
The municipal spa tax in the City of Bern is referred to as an overnight tax (Übernachtungsabgabe). The tax applies to any non-resident who pays for overnight accommodation within the city.
The rate varies between CHF 2.50 and 6.00 depending on whether the guest stays in a hotel, a room of a private house, a holiday apartment, or other lodging establishment.
It consists of the tax rate and a surcharge for the Bern Ticket. The Bern Ticket entitles guests to unlimited use of public transport for the duration of their stay. There are certain exemptions and discounts from the tax. For example, the tax doesn’t apply to children under 16 but they have to pay the Bern Ticket surcharge.
Hosts need to collect the overnight accommodation tax from their guests and have up to thirty days after the last day of month in which a guest stays to forward the tax to the city. They share joint liability with their guests for paying the taxes.
The amount of the overnight accommodation tax you collect from your guests is based on your establishment’s category. You can charge the tax as a separate line item on guest invoices.
You’ll also need to keep a list that shows the number of nights spent and any exemptions.
The Bern Municipality Tax Office has a register of lodging establishments. Hosts need to add the address of their listing to the register.