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Berghain Officially Given High Culture Status and Lower Tax Rate

German court has ruled that it provides more than just "amusement."

Alexander Iadarola

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

German court has ruled that renowned Berlin techno club Berghain provides high cultural events rather than just "entertainment," and should accordingly be taxed at a lower rate. The club will pay a 7% tax instead of 19% because of a decision by the Berlin-Brandenburg fiscal court in Cottbus, according to a report by German magazine Der Spiegel published three days ago.

For its appeal, Berghain commissioned a report from Lost and Sound: Techno, Berlin and the Easyjetset author Tobias Rapp, wherein he compared a DJ to an orchestra conductor and argued that the majority of the venue's patrons came for the music. Meanwhile, Berghain's defense lawyer Peter Raue contended that clubgoers could have an experience in the club comparable to that of a symphony by late-Romantic composer Gustav Mahler, reports The Guardian.

Berghain originally paid the 7% tax until 2008, when the Finance Ministry decided clubs should be taxed as "entertainment events," citing its allure as a space for intoxication and the lack of stages, beginnings, and endings.

Relatedly, an official for Illinois' Cook County recently told attorneys for two small Chicago clubs that the music they play does not count as "culture," and as a result, they each owe approximately $200,000 in taxes.

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