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Tax and Revenue Administration
Alberta Tourism Levy Act
Special Notice Vol. 7 No. 8


Released: April 30, 2014
Produced by: Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, Tax and Revenue Administration
For more information: tra.revenue@gov.ab.ca

Vol. 7 No. 8 / April 2014

NOTE: This special notice is intended to explain legislation and provide specific information. Every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate. However, if a discrepancy should occur in interpretation between this special notice and governing legislation, the legislation takes precedence.

ALBERTA TOURISM LEVY ACT SPECIAL NOTICE:
TOURISM LEVY APPLICATION TO SPECIFIC SITUATIONS

Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA), administers the tourism levy on behalf of the President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance. This special notice clarifies how TRA applies the tourism levy to certain complimentary rooms and miscellaneous charges.

Application of Tourism Levy

Pursuant to the Tourism Levy Act (the Act), the tourism levy applies to the purchase price of accommodation in Alberta. Accommodation means lodging that is provided for consideration (monetary or non-monetary). As provided under the Act, where the purchase price consists of lodging together with meals, transportation or other goods and services, the purchase price is the consideration that is, in TRA’s opinion, reasonably attributable to the lodging alone.

Complimentary Rooms

Accommodation operators may provide guests with accommodation even without monetary consideration. For example, when an employee, a contractor or an entertainer is provided with accommodation free of charge while performing services for an operator, TRA considers this as a benefit to the employee or contractor or as part of the compensation for an exchange of service and calculates the tourism levy based on the purchase price of a similar room available for rent or that is, in TRA’s opinion, attributable to the room.

On occasion, an operator may provide accommodation free of charge to an employee’s relatives. TRA also considers this as an exchange for service from the employee and the tourism levy is to be collected on the accommodation. The tourism levy charged in these cases should be consistent with the tourism levy charged on similar rooms rented out during the same time period.

Generally, the tourism levy will not apply if no consideration of any kind is received by the operator when providing the accommodation. Below are examples of situations where in TRA’s opinion no consideration is received in exchange for the accommodation provided:

  1. No tourism levy is payable on the fourth night where a guest purchases three nights of accommodation and, as part of a promotional package, gets the fourth night free;
  2. an operator donates a night’s stay as a gift to be used as a prize or in a raffle;
  3. an operator does not charge its customer for a night’s stay as compensation, for example, due to noise complaints.

Miscellaneous charges

Generally, tourism levy is to be calculated where the charges are in the normal course of providing the lodging. Tourism levy will generally not apply where the charges are related to other goods and services in excess of the consideration reasonably attributable to the lodging alone.

TRA will require tourism levy to be calculated on the following miscellaneous charges because they are considered as an integral part of the lodging provided by the operator:

  • fees for smoking in non-smoking rooms,
  • pet charges,
  • microwave ovens, and
  • refrigerators.

The tourism levy does not apply to charges that are not attributable to lodging. The charges must be separately stated on the invoice and the customers are provided a choice of paying the extra charge for using the item or not. Examples of charges that TRA does not consider attributable to lodging include:

  • optional charges for items such as internet access for a fee, in room entertainment or parking; and
  • additional charges for costs such as damaged linens, additional cleaning charges (i.e., where the customer is charged an additional amount for cleaning), and, where the customer has been charged for “other” damages to the room.

However, if the above charges are not segregated from the purchase price of the accommodation, tourism levy will apply.

Meals

In some cases, the price charged for lodging includes meals. The tourism levy is not charged on the purchase price paid that reasonably relates to the meals. It is up to the accommodation operator to separate the purchase price paid for the meals alone from the overall purchase price paid for the room. For the tourism levy to apply to the room cost alone, the cost of meals must be separately stated on the invoice. In any case, the amount that is separately stated on the invoice as the purchase price paid for the meals must be a reasonable amount based on the meals actually provided to the customer.

 

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