After a recent amendment to the Tourism Act, state faced legal barricades in collecting Green Tax.
However, reports claim several tourist properties are still charging Green Tax from holidaymakers.
Based on the Tax Act and Tourism Act, tourist properties are levied a charge of USD6.00 per day per head - for the individual duration of each tourist's stay in the properties.
Following the most recent amendment to Tourism Act, ratified in July, the date of effect for Green Tax implementation was, by mistake changed to January 1, 2023.
This placed a legal interruption on tourist properties, as well as on Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) from collecting Green Tax until the following year.
The issue has not been adequately communicated to tourist properties by the Ministry of Tourism.
Meanwhile, a representative from a local tourist resort claims that the establishment was charging Green Tax due to lack of communication from relevant authorities pertaining to the matter. On the other hand, Minister of Tourism Dr. Ahmed Mausoom claims that the issue of whether properties can charge Green Tax or not, remains a legal debate.
The minister further claims that Green Tax collected from tourists should be reimbursed to the travelers, until the date of effect.
Dr. Mausoom had also claimed that the other remedy is to transfer any Green Tax collection to MIRA. The minister remarked that this course of action is logical since the charges were collected as taxes.
Ministry of Tourism has not urged tourist properties to halt collecting the tax. The ministry claims that this had not been communicated since the matter has been lodged at Attorney General's office for a remedy.
MIRA's media official Mr. Ahmed Shareef confirms that the authority did not have a set plan on collecting the tax for the remainder of the year. The decision rests on both ministries of tourism and finance, Shareef stated.
Shareef further claimed that Green Tax collected since the date of ratification of the new amendment of Tourism Act, should be returned back to tourists from whom it was collected. If the reimbursements cannot be made back to the tourists, then it should be transferred to MIRA.
Most of the tourist properties that had collected green tax since the amendment of Tourism Act was ratified, had not been privy to the changes.