Times Reporters, Page 26, Wednesday March 31, 2010 Issue 76
Representatives from tourism and hotel groups in Champassak province have asked provincial finance officials to resolve the problem of double tax payment by some hotel guests. Fifty-five tourism and hotel units shared their comments in a provincial public-private dialogue meeting in Champassak on Thursday.Champassak Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Dr Chinda Vongsouri said that when tourists buy package tours, the price includes value added tax (VAT).“However, they also have to pay tax when they stay in a hotel,” he said.
Tax officials collect the VAT from hotels and the hotels collect it again from customers, even if they are on a package tour, he explained. “The tax should only be collected from hotel guests who are not on package tours.”To resolve the issue, service operators want officials to amend tax regulations to match those in Vientiane, where tax is collected only once.
An official from the provincial finance department, Mr Vixianh Sombounkhanh, said this issue had already been resolved in December and each related state sector had been informed of its implementation in early January.“There is no double tax payment now. There may be misunderstanding about the payment among some businesses,” Mr Vixianh said. Tax officials do not collect tax from hotel guests a second Champassak tourism operators debate double tax paymenttime because they have already paid it when they bought the package tour, he said.“We have taxed hotels only on their business operation.” “Under the amended regulations, customers will be able to get a refund if they pay twice,” Dr Chinda said.The department will need to go back and check whether state officials are acting on the amended regulations.“We have to identify the problem and solve it.
Tax regulations must be clear to facilitate service operations,” Mr Vixianh said.The Champassak chamber has been trying to improve coordination between public agencies and the business sector. Director of the Lao-German Programme on Human Resource Development for Market Economy (under Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit, GTZ), Dr Manfred Matzdorf, commented that Champassak is a model province in terms of finding business solutions for better economic development.
Provincial public-private dialogue has so far solved 14 out of 24 business problems raised by the private sector.“It serves to bring the public and private sectors together to identify critical problems for business and investors in the province and initiate action to solve those problems,” Dr Matzdorf said. The meeting was organised by the Champassak chamber and supported by the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations International Development Organisation, and GTZ.