The Royal Malaysian Customs Department ("RMCD") has just released the Guide on Tourism Tax for Digital Platform Service Provider (as at 13 August 2021).
The Guide on Tourism Tax for accommodation premise operators was also recently updated as at 4 August 2021 (available in Malay language only).
Please click on the above header link for copies of the Guides at the MyTTx portal.
Set out below are the salient points:-
Guide on Tourism Tax for DPSP (as at 13 August 2021)
- Where Tourism Tax ("TTx") has been paid by the tourist to the DPSP, the registered operator is not required to collect the TTx from the tourist, provided that the tourist shall submit proof of such payment. If the tourist is unable to provide any proof of such payment of TTx to the DPSP, the registered operator shall collect the TTx from the tourist and account such tax to RMCD.
Although the law puts the obligation on the tourist to provide proof, practically tourists who are on holiday in Malaysia may not be aware of this requirement. Hence, to encourage and attract more foreign tourists to Malaysia, the DPSP and the registered operators are encouraged to work together to facilitate the documentation requirement, to ease the tourists’ stay in Malaysia.
- Where the DPSP only allows booking but does not handle payment, the obligation to charge and collect TTx falls on the registered operators. Example 3 and Example 4 illustrates this difference.
Note however that in Q&A2, where the DPSP provides an option for the tourist to pay first or pay to the accommodation premise operator later, the obligation to charge and collect TTx falls on the DPSP.
- For DPSP who provides services before the implementation date of TTx, the application for registration shall be made not later than 3 months before the effective date. Nevertheless, Example 7 suggests that the registration can be made within 3 months before the effective date.
- Q&A5 and Q&A6 states that the existing exemption to backpackers accommodation and accommodation premise operators as listed under the Tourism Tax (Exemption) Order 2017 would not similarly apply to online booking made via the DPSP. This could create confusion and result in an uneven playing field because if the tourist books directly with the ‘exempted’ accommodation premise operators, no TTx will be charged; but if this is booked via the DPSP, a TTx will be charged.
- A service apartment with 3 bedrooms is considered as 1 room for TTx purposes if it is booked as 1 unit, hence the TTx rate is RM10/ room/ night. However, if the reservation is made separately on a per room basis, then TTx shall be imposed on each of the room. Q&A8 refers.
- If the tourist provides inaccurate information to the DPSP which resulted in TTx not collected, Q&A9 clarifies that the DPSP will not be responsible for the under-collected TTx provided it can be shown that due diligence has been done to obtain the required information from the tourist. With this, DPSP must ensure it is able to demonstrate that the necessary care and duties have been discharged when processing the booking made on its platform.
- Following from the above, DPSP are expected to collect the necessary data (e.g. passport no. or ID no.) to ensure the nationality of the tourist. Q&A10 refers. Hence, system enhancement is crucial.
Guide on Tourism Tax for Accommodation Premise Operators (as at 4 August 2021)
- Accommodation premise subject to Tourism Tax now includes "innovative" accommodations such as Apache-type hotels, caravan, container, bustel, boat house, tree house, sleeping tube, tents, cruise and such similar accommodations.
- A one suite room in a hotel with 2 attached bedrooms is considered as 1 room for TTx purposes if the accommodation operator charges the suite as 1 room.
- A foreigner who checks-in the hotel room but the room is registered under the name of a Malaysian who does not stay in the room, is still subject to TTx.
Although the above Guide provides some clarity on the TTx treatment for DPSP, there are still some areas which may be challenging to implement. DPSPs are encouraged to look into their processes and documentation, and where required, seek further clarification from the RMCD or Ministry of Finance, before the go-live date.
Our highlights are intended to provide a general overview of the key proposed tax changes and should not be used or relied upon as a substitute for detailed advice or as a basis for formulating business decisions.
Should you have any questions or require further clarification, please do not hesitate to email or contact any of our Executive Directors, Directors, Associate Directors or Managers whom you are accustomed to dealing with or who are responsible for the tax affairs of your organization.