MGM and Venetian to pay back tourism tax

MGM Grand Paradise and Venetian Macau have been ordered by the courts to pay back their tourism tax.

According to a statement by the courts, MGM Macau was ordered by the director of the Financial Services Bureau (DSF) to pay back around MOP 6.8 million (US$844,600) owed for the year 2009, while Venetian was told to pay back around MOP 14.1 million owed for year 2011.

The case was later appealed in the Court of Second Instance where it was ruled against and then later filed with the Court of Final Instance (TUI).

However, the TUI has ruled against both operators ruling that only complimentary services involving telecommunications and laundry were tax-exempt.

The case follows from a similar ruling against Galaxy Entertainment for tax paid regarding its complementary services at the Starwood Hotel.

In 2014, Galaxy Entertainment Group paid MOP2.57 million in tourism taxes for ‘complimentary services’. However, as Galaxy was not the direct provider of these services, the operator claimed it should be ‘tax free’, and had appealed the ruling.

According to the TIU, “any services provided by hotel operators in certain activity ranges should be taxed, which includes accommodation, food & beverages, as well as other auxiliary services with only telecommunications and laundry exempted”.

“[All the complimentary services] are actually provided by the hotel to guests, as such they are covered by the scope of tourism tax,” the judges of the final court wrote.