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Airbnb Supporting Tourism Tax For Short Term Rentals, Say It Would Help Maximise Economy

Airbnb Supporting Tourism Tax For Short Term Rentals, Say It Would Help Maximise Economy

Tourism tax costs tourists an extra RM10 for accommodation per night.

Hakim Hassan

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Support of the government’s move to extend tourism tax to the short-term accommodation industry has come from Airbnb who say it would help maximise the entire tourism industry’s contribution to the local economy

Airbnb Head of Public Policy (Southeast Asia), Mich Goh said with more travelers opting for short-term accommodation, the decision is timely.

Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) is defined as a residential accommodation that is rented for a short period of time.

It can either be residential properties such as bungalow, terrace house, condominium and flat or commercial properties such as Small Office Home Office (SoHo), Small Office Flexible Office (SoFo), etc.

Meanwhile, for hotels and motels, besides being required to register for a license, they are regulated by multiple Acts including the Tourism Act 1992 and the Inkeepers Act 1952, to name a few.

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Picture Credit: Malay Mail

In the Budget 2021 announcement, the Malaysian government said that it would expand the Tourism Tax to include accommodation booked through online travel platforms, such as Airbnb.

The Tourism Tax Bill 2017, which was passed in the Senate on 27 April 2017, allows operators to charge tourists, both local and foreign RM10 upon checkout for staying at any accommodation premises.

According to the law, the tax can only imposed on an overnight stay when the room rate is charged. Day use rooms are not subject to the tax unless the tourist is charged a room rate by the operator and the room rate is the rate for per room per night.

Previously, Airbnb hosts couldn’t claim the RM10 tax because it’s stated that an operator does not include any person who merely rents out his premises and collects rental payments and does not provide any other services.

The Airbnb community already makes a significant contribution to the Malaysian economy, injecting more than RM3.98bil into the economy and supporting over 52,100 local jobs in communities right across the country. Evidence and experience shows tourism taxes, if designed and delivered correctly, work. They can be a fair and sustainable way to raise more revenue for local communities.

Airbnb Head of Public Policy (Southeast Asia), Mich Goh

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