28-03-2016Archive

When will it be introduced?
1 July 2016.

How much will it cost?
Between May and October it will range between 50 cents and two euros per person per day depending on the type of accommodation. The upper rate of two euros applies to five-star and four-star superior hotels, to tourist apartments of four keys or four keys superior and to what are referred to as “non-residential accommodation establishments of tourism-residential companies”. Three-star superior and four-star hotels will be 1.5 euros. One, two and three-star hotels will cost one euro. Tourist apartments with three keys, 1.5 euros, and with one or two keys, one euro.
The following are also rated at one euro: cruise ships; rural hotels; agrotourism and interior tourism accommodation. Then there are “tourist holiday homes” and “homes subject to tourist stay marketing”. Oh, and any other establishment of a “tourist character” that isn’t a hostel, pension, camping or refuge: they’re all fifty cents.
Between November and April all of these rates are discounted by 50%. After ten days of any stay, the rate is cut by 50%.

Some of this sounds confusing?
When isn’t it? It would seem, though, that villas marketed via agencies, for example, will have a two euro charge. Tourist holiday homes would appear to refer to regulated tourist accommodation that is marketed direct by owners, but this may require clarification from the ministry (and/or a lawyer).

There are properties that aren’t regulated. What about them?
Apartments and any other accommodation that are not registered (or which cannot be registered at present) as tourist accommodation cannot attract the charge. By this, one presumes that properties rented out under terms of the national tenancy act will be exempt as these cannot be advertised as tourist accommodation even if this is the purpose. Other accommodation that is not subject to the tenancy act and which is not registered is, by definition, illegal if it is being marketed or rented out for tourism/holiday purposes.

Is anyone exempt?
Children under the age of sixteen. Tourists on subsidised, social vacation programmes under the auspices of any European Union administration. Workers who, because of the nature of their work, need to stay in tourist accommodation. Patients of the Balearic health service (and companions) who need to stay in accommodation when travelling for medical treatment.

What happens if a child has a birthday while on holiday and goes over the exempt age?
Good question. What does happen?

How’s the tax going to be collected?
Another good question. One thing’s for sure and that is that it will not be collected at airports or ports. Palma’s Son Sant Joan (and Son Bonet for that matter), Ibiza and Minorca airports are all owned by the state, as are the ports of Palma, Alcudia, Mahon, Ibiza and La Savina. And the state, as in the national government, has not given approval for the tax to be collected at them.
Hoteliers, tour operators and cruise operators had all asked for a delay in introducing the tax until 2017 because of reservations that have been made without any tax being included in the booking price. Bringing in the tax mid-season is going to create difficulties, but the bottom line is that it is the responsibility of those responsible for accommodation to collect the tax. For hotels (and cruise ships), it is in a sense relatively straightforward but for villas and other such accommodation it is less so.

Is it the case that hotels will be bearing the cost this year?
The Majorca Hoteliers Federation had indicated that this might well be the case but has since backtracked. It may be that individual hotels or hotel chains decide to bear the cost but it would be up to them and won’t be an across-the-board measure.

But will all tourists be aware of the tax?
Not necessarily, so some may well get a shock when presented with a bill, especially those travelling on tight budgets.

What about people who own properties and come and stay, say, for three months at  a time but aren’t residents as such? Do they pay?
It would seem not. There is no specific mention of such visitors. Plus, non-resident owners already pay tax.

And those on recreational boats that stop off for a night or so?
Now, there’s a question. If they stay onboard, then it would seem not. This issue has been raised by the parliamentary deputy for Formentor. It may yet be revisited at some point.

How is a “stay” defined?
Essentially, it is the 24 hours between 12 midday and 12 midday the following day. But any part of a day over 12 hours becomes a “day”. The exception is for cruise ships, many of which aren’t in port for 12 hours. There is no minimum time for cruise ships: passengers pay regardless.

What’s the tax revenue going to be used for?
Well, one thing that it won’t be used for is building new care homes for the elderly. That idea was vetoed by Podemos and the Partido Popular. Otherwise, the purposes are environmental preservation and recuperation; promoting low-season tourism; tourism promotion; development of tourism infrastructures; rehabilitation of cultural heritage; research and development related to tourism and economic diversification; improvements to the quality of employment and training in the tourism sector.

Some of it sounds rather vague.
It does. The messages have changed over the months leading up to approval of the tax. It now seems that it will have more of an environmental priority than had first been envisaged. But fundamentally it’s all about sustainable development and sustainable tourism. Read into that what you want.

How will it be distributed?
Sixty per cent of the revenue is spread between the four islands (Majorca will get roughly 42-45% of this). The remaining 40% will be for other projects, though none of this is clear. The decisions are to be made by a committee. This hasn’t as yet been formed, and there’s likely to be a great deal of haggling to come regarding the make-up of this committee and then how the revenue is actually allocated.

The government says that the new tax is not like the old eco-tax (2002-2003) and that people are behind it.
Well, the old eco-tax was environmental only. It was also highly discriminatory in that the burden fell squarely on the hotels and no one else. The government's line is that tourists are now used to taxes elsewhere and so are tour operators. But it says things that aren't accurate. For example, it refers to tourist taxes elsewhere in Spain. The fact is that Catalonia is the only region to have one. Indeed, it might be said that Catalonia is one of only a few parts of Europe where there is strong "sun and beach tourism" to have a tax. Croatia has something similar, for example. Elsewhere in Spain, Andalusia, the Canaries, the Madrid Community have all ruled out a tax. Valencia is thinking about it.

Local society might be in favour, though not necessarily when it comes to having pay itself to stay in tourist accommodation (European rules mean that the tax has to apply to Balearic residents as well). But as for business, there is almost total opposition and not just from the hoteliers.

Will it last?
For the lifetime of this current government, then yes. If the Partido Popular were to be returned to power after the next election (2019), then it would probably scrap the tax, just as it scrapped the eco-tax after it won the 2003 election.

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Susie / Hace about 1 year

I booked a villa for five people but our friends ( another couple) decided to book a hotel. The letting agent demanded tax from five people. There are just the two of us and our ten year-old who shouldn't be paying at all.

+1-

DeeBee / Hace about 1 year

I am considering renting a villa from Owners Direct, and there is no mention of this tax on their website. I found the same villa on another website, and there is the statement "local tax payable IN CASH locally". I don't have a problem with actually paying it, but I am not comfortable handing over £70 cash to a villa manager I have never met before, as how do I know where it will go? Has anyone any advice or experience? Could I refuse to pay the cash when we arrive, or offer to pay it in an alternative way?

+5-

Catherine Cordiner / Hace over 2 years

Meant July. Also we were all inclusive and it was 4th day I was hospitalised husband stayed in hotel and !aid asked him many times!es how I was. My son flew across as it was touch and go with my health. Husband asked if OK for son to stay I night as moving nearer hosp next day and man at reception wanted to charge us the nb rate for room already paid for. Needless to say did not pay. Then they said no show. Did they think we wanted some thing. Bad service and bad man

+1-

Catherine Cordiner / Hace over 2 years

Husband and I stayed in the Amazonia hotel Majorca 08/07/16 til 17/11/16 we paid over 18 euro tourist tax the man at reception never gave us a receipt as cash. I took unwell had to go for an emergency op at hospital. When sunmaster contacted them just to confirm dates hotel said we were a No show even though doctor was called by them and dr came to our room 233 and they saw me being taken away. In an ambulance. Needed for hospital insurance. Can you check if hotel paid you your tax for this week as concerned may not of or other tourists.

+1-

shannon / Hace over 2 years

How would a tourist be expected to pay?

+7-

Andrew Ede / Hace over 2 years

It can add 10% VAT (IVA). That's because the Spanish government, in advance of Catalonia introducing its tourist tax in 2012, changed the rules on VAT to enable it to be charged. The Spanish government is opposed to tourist taxes but it cannot prevent regional administrations introducing them. To date, the Balearics and Catalonia are the only parts of Spain where there is such a tax.

+3-

Hoiland / Hace over 2 years

Can a hotel add 10 percent service to the charge on the tax

+0-

Andrew Ede / Hace over 2 years

Kelly, that sounds right. For a three-star, one euro per person per day, so five euros per person for five days. Ten euros for two people plus ten per cent VAT. Eleven euros total.

+0-

Kel / Hace over 2 years

I have just come back from Mallorca... Stayed for 5 days in a 3 star hotel and the charge was €11 between myself and my friend so €5.50 each. I thought it was per person but it wasn't. Not quite sure of the exact details as the reception did not quite understand English well, but maybe the charge is over room booked?

+0-

Dolores / Hace over 2 years

Esto es una noticia seria cuando se cita al aeropuerto de Palma de Mallorca, uno de los mas famosos de Europa, con el nombre que tenia el aeropuerto que estaba en funcionamiento el los años 1950 que era son Bonet? Si en todo se está igual de informado.... vaya articulo

+0-