Legislative Assembly passes bill expanding application of Macau tourist tax

The Macau Legislative Council has passed a bill that will change the way the SAR tourist tax will be applied to various tourism-related services.

The ‘Amendment to the Tourist Tax Regulations’ bill was first discussed on Friday by the Third Standing Committee of the Legislative Council, with members asking the government to explain whether the scope of the tourist tax will be modified after the legislative amendment.

The bill, which currently applies a 5% tourist tax on “services rendered” in hotels, health clubs, saunas, massage parlors, karaoke bars and other establishments, would change this. in “goods and services rendered directly or indirectly by the establishments concerned and provision of services”.

During the three ordinary sessions of the Legislative Council, some members expressed concern about whether this would mean that the scope of the tourist tax would be changed. The bill mentions that the tourist tax should be earmarked as revenue from the national treasury, and some members questioned whether this would change the focus of the Macau Tourism Fund.

Economy and Finance Secretary Lei Wai Nong mentioned in the Legislative Council earlier this year that the purpose of changing the tourist tax is to clarify its “attribution”. “The positioning is still clear,” he said.

The bill includes ‘goods’ within the scope of taxation, with Iong Kong Leong explaining that the scope of goods will include items purchased from minibars provided by hotels, the sale of ferry tickets and airfare, newspapers and publications which may involve hotels, and other sales. services provided indirectly by industry.

From 2017 to 2019, Macau’s tourist tax brought in MOP$808 million, MOP$940 million and MOP$960 million (US$100 million, US$116 million and US$119 million) respectively. . However, the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a series of tax-free measures proposed by the government, has seen tourism tax revenue fall to MOP$160 million (US$20 million) in 2020 and to MOP128 million MOP dollars (US$16 million) in 2021. .

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