People working in Bratislava without having a permanent address in the capital pay more for the accommodation in the city from the beginning of 2017 in the form of a higher accommodation tax, the Pravda daily reported.
Until the end of 2016, non-Bratislavans could avoid the tax by declaring that they have a temporary residence in the city. The city authorities, however, scrapped this exception and increased the fee from €1.65 to €1.70 a month. The change should increase revenues to the city coffers by €50 per person every month, the Pravda daily reported.
The measure aims to increase the number of inhabitants. It is estimated that up to 300,000 people living outside Bratislava study or work in the city but they pay local taxes to their home municipalities. It also involves foreigners with permanent residences outside Slovakia, Ivana Kešeľáková from the press department of the Bratislava mayor’s office told The Slovak Spectator.
EU citizens with a five-year residence permit in Bratislava will not have to pay the fee. The law defines the permit as a permanent residency, explained Branislav Červenka, head of the foreigners police department.
Companies are not pleased by the change as they often need to hire people from central and eastern Slovakia. Bratislava-based carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia, for example, employs about 1,000 people who live in lodging houses.
“The new generally binding order of the capital on the accommodation tax represents a serious obstacle for commuting to Bratislava,” Lucia Kovarovič Makayová, spokesperson for Volkswagen Slovakia, told Pravda, adding that since they struggle with recruiting people from the region, they would welcome measures that support commuting from more distant regions.
Representatives of the capital, however, say the money is needed for new investments and operation of the city, as reported by Pravda.
Meanwhile, more than 10 companies turned to the city authority to obtain an exemption from paying the tax, with the city saying it is not ruling out a possibility to discuss the change. Any changes, however, need to be approved by the city council, the former spokesperson for Bratislava, Ivana Skokanová, told Pravda.
The daily reported that also other cities across the country may follow Bratislava’s example and increase accommodation taxes.