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Malaysia: Airbnb,, – It’s time for online accommodation reservation operators to register for the collection of tourist tax

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The tourist tax law 2017 (‘the main law‘) was promulgated by the Malaysian government to provide a framework for the imposition and collection of a tourist tax on any tourist who stays in accommodation in Malaysia.

The main law was subsequently amended by the Tourist Tax Act 2021 (amendment)(‘the amending law‘) which entered into force on April 1, 2021, with the exception of a new Part VA to be added to the main law as of July 1, 2021. Part VA , inter alia, imposes an obligation on any person operating an online reservation service for accommodation premises inside or outside Malaysia (‘digital platform service provider‘) to collect and pay tourist tax to the Malaysian government in respect of accommodation in Malaysia booked by a tourist.

The rate of the tourist tax, as prescribed by the 2021 Tourism Tax Ordinance (tax rate on digital platform service providers), is RM10 per room per night. This tax will be collected from July 1, 2021 under the Designation of the date of entry into force for the collection and collection of the tourist tax.

Who is a tourist?

The Main Law prescribes that the expression “touristic“has the meaning set out in Section 2 (1) of the Tourism Industry Act 1992, which refers to any person, whether of Malaysian nationality or otherwise, visiting a place in Malaysia at the one of the following: (a) pleasure, leisure or vacation; (b) culture; (c) religion; (d) visiting friends or relatives; (e) sports; (f) business; (g) meetings, conferences, seminars or conventions; (h) studies or research; or (i) any other purpose which is not linked to a paid occupation from the place visited.

In view of the above, a “tourist” would be, for the purposes of the Main Law and the Amending Law. include a person who visits any place in Malaysia, even for business purposes or for study or research.

However, it should be noted that the Minister of Finance issued the Tourist tax decree (digital platform service provider) (exemption) 2021 which exempts a Malaysian citizen or permanent resident of Malaysia tourist from paying tourist tax charged by a digital platform service provider.

The amending law

Here are some of the main changes to the main statute under the amending statute:

  1. A tourist tax will now be charged and collected on a tourist staying at any accommodation in Malaysia that is made available through the services provided by a digital platform service provider;
  2. Various obligations are imposed on a digital platform service provider, including the following:
  1. to collect the tourist tax from a tourist who books accommodation via his online reservation platform;
  2. to provide declarations relating to the tourist tax collected and to pay this tax to the Director General of Customs and Excise of Malaysia (‘General manager‘) on a quarterly basis (or any other period which may be extended by the Managing Director on request in a particular case); and
  3. register with the managing director – in this regard, the new article 20C (3) of the main law requires that a digital platform service provider who has provided online reservation services for accommodation premises in Malaysia before April 1, 2021 register with the Managing Director no later than three months before July 1, 2021.
  1. To prevent the tourist tax from being imposed twice on a tourist, the main law is amended to provide that the operator of the accommodation is exempt from collecting the tourist tax from a tourist who has paid the tax. stay at a digital platform service provider.
  2. As the obligation to collect and account for tourist tax is imposed on a digital platform service provider operating inside or outside Malaysia, new provisions are introduced to give effect extraterritorial to the main law and its subsidiary legislation. In other words, they apply beyond the geographic limits and territorial waters of Malaysia and to anyone of any nationality or citizenship.

To resolve the transition problems, article 21 of the amending law provides that the tourist tax will not be charged to a tourist who stays in an accommodation place from July 1, 2021 if the online reservation has been made. from a digital platform service provider before the aforementioned date. .

Tourist tax regulation (digital platform service provider) 2021

To give effect to the provisions imposing on providers of digital platform services the obligation to collect and account for the tourist tax, the Tourist tax regulation (digital platform service provider) 2021 (‘the rule‘) were published in the Official Journal on March 31, 2021 and entered into force the following day.

Among other things, the Regulation provides as follows:

  1. the procedure for registering a digital platform service provider;
  2. the terms of issuance of credit notes and debit notes by a digital platform service provider, the timeframe for doing so and the particulars to be included in a credit note or debit note;
  3. the method of payment of the tourist tax or the penalty payable under the main law;
  4. the reimbursement request procedure; and
  5. the forms or declarations to be used for the matters referred to in paragraphs (1), (3) and (4) above.

In addition, the Regulations require a digital platform service provider to notify the senior customs officer in writing of any changes:

  1. on behalf of the company;
  2. at the address of any place of business;
  3. in the company’s statute; Where
  4. of the authorized person or his contact details.
In accordance with the provisions of Article 62 of the Main Law, the Regulations set out the rules governing the use of an electronic service to be provided by the Director General for the filing or delivery of any request, declaration or other document and the service of any notice, instruction, receipt or any other document.

A digital platform service provider operating outside Malaysia should note that the Regulations state that Malaysian Standard Time (UTC / GMT +8 hours) is the applicable reference time for reception purposes. returns and payment of tourism tax or penalty. Thus, filing deadlines should be determined by reference to Malaysian standard time and not the local time of the location where a foreign-based service provider operates.


The changes introduced as part of the amending law recognize the important role played by digital platforms in the reservation of accommodation premises by tourists. Since payment for accommodation premises will in most cases be made at the time a tourist makes an online reservation on a digital platform, the Malaysian government has taken steps to impose an obligation to collect the tax. of stay to the service provider of the digital platform instead of the operator of the accommodation.

In light of the obligation on foreign digital platform service providers to collect and report to the Malaysian government tourist tax payable by tourists who book accommodation in Malaysia through their platforms, operators of these platforms, such as Airbnb, and Booking .com, will have to register with the General Manager and refine their online reservation systems in order to comply with the requirements introduced by the amending law and the Regulation before July 1, 2021 .

Originally posted April 16, 2021

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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