Airbnb Owners: Are You Charging Tourism Tax?

Airbnb Owners: Are You Charging Tourism Tax?

1024 536 Chan Zi Xin

Tourism Tax is a mandatory tax charged on foreign tourists staying at any accommodation premises (eg. hotels, inns, hostels, lodging houses, AirBnb etc.) in Malaysia made available by an operator at flat rate of RM 10.00 per room per night.

Although Airbnb is currently not recognised by local authorities (PBT), Airbnb is also subjected to tourism tax, as confirmed by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz when winding up the debate on the Tourism Industry (Amendment) Bill 2017 at the Dewan Rakyat. The Bill had been passed recently.

That being said, these are some key features of the Tourism Tax Act 2017. If you are an Airbnb owner having 5 accommodation rooms or more (irrespective of whether your premises/rooms are clustered or scattered, temporary or permanent), kindly take note of the following:


Registration requirements:

  • You need to register your accommodation premises with the Customs.
  • A failure to register would be an offence liable to a fine not exceeding RM 30,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both.


Issuance of invoices, receipts or other documents

  • You are required to issue an invoice, receipt or other document in either Bahasa Malaysia or English, which separately states the accommodation charges and the amount of tourism tax payable by the tourists.
  • A failure to issue the invoices, receipts or other documents in accordance with the requirements would be an offence liable to a fine not exceeding RM 30,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both.


Filing of tourism tax returns and payment of tourism tax

  • It is your duty to collect the tourism tax from foreign tourists.
  • In addition, you are required to furnish a return, which accounts for the tourism tax collected during each taxable period, on a quarterly basis (i.e., every 3 months), by no later than the last day of the calendar month following the end of the taxable period.
  • A failure to furnish the returns or pay the tourism tax within the stipulated deadline would lead to a fine not exceeding RM 30,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or both.


Compoundable offences:

  • Under section 56 of Tourism Tax Act 2017, the Director General has the power to compound an amount not exceeding fifty percent (50%) of the maximum fine for the offences listed out in the link below.


For more information, visit this link which provides you with the full detailed guidance for operators.

Chan Zi Xin

Chan Zi Xin is currently pursuing a Master in Medical Law (LLM) in the University of Liverpool as a Hodgson scholar. Having had her own articles published in Brickfields Law Review and Liverpool’s Law Bulletin, Zi Xin also led the operation of the University of Liverpool’s Law Review as the Deputy Editor In Chief (2016-17). Besides, Zi Xin currently volunteers with Healthwatch Liverpool as a social worker, where she acts as an advocate to help monitor and influence the provision of health and social care services in Liverpool. Zi Xin is also an avid squash player where she played for the university team and coached junior players.

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