It’s been hotly debated for many months, but after several iterations, it seems the tourism tax is here to stay – but only for foreigners. Beginning 1 September 2017, RM10 will be charged per room per night for all foreign passport holders staying in accommodation premises in the country.
This covers but is not limited to hostels, hotels, inns, boarding houses, rest houses and lodging houses. Previously, tax rates were dependent on the accommodation’s star rating, but now it is a flat fee that will be collected by the accommodation on behalf of the government upon checkout. Late checkouts may also be subject to an additional RM10 tax.
For customers that have a corporate agreement with hotels, the tax can be included in the invoice if the room charge is to be billed to a master account.
All Malaysians and permanent residents are exempt from this tax. Also exempt are the following operators:
- A homestay under the Pengalaman Homestay Malaysia Programme
- A kampungstay under the Visit My Kampung Programme: Kampungstay
- Any accommodation premises operated by the government, local authorities or higher education institutions for people to receive education, training or welfare
- Any accommodation premises operated by an employer for his employees
- Any accommodation premises operated by a religious or welfare body for religious or welfare activities
- Any accommodation premises with four accommodation rooms or less.
Based on the above criteria, it looks like Airbnb and Homeaway renters won’t be hit by this tax (yet) but we’d encourage you to get your holiday bookings in early before any potential policy changes – not least because this tax will make Airbnb-type stays a much more attractive option cost-wise.
The full Act can be found here.
What’re your opinions on this tourism tax? Is it justified? Is it too taxing? Does it discourage you from travel? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or through a letter to our editor.