The Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) and the Travel Tax

                         The Travel Tax

Many Filipino citizen (and some foreigners living in the Philippines) sometimes get a nasty surprise when they check in for an international flight. They are required to pay in addition to the well known airport tax a fee called "Travel Tax". This applies to all Philippine citizens, whether they live abroad or in the Philippines, and permanently in the Philippines living foreigners (staying in the Philippines for more than one year). The amount is as follows:

  First Class Passengers Economy Class Passengers
Full Rate P 2700 P 1620
Standard reduced rate P 1350 P 810
 Privileged reduced rate for 
 Overseas contract workers
P 400 P 300

This tax can already be paid when the ticket is purchased, or will be required to be paid before departure in the airport. As the PTA office in Aquino the airport does not accept credit cards only cash is acceptable. When the ticket is purchased in the Philippines, the issuing travel agent will only release the ticket when the price including the travel tax is paid.

The Good News

Now all Filipinos living abroad permanently can avoid paying the travel tax. They only have to present a copy of their passport with the immigration stamp and the proof that they are living permanently abroad.  For Filipinas living in Germany they have to present the proof, that they have the unlimited residence permit stamped in their passport. You have to go to the Travel Tax Counter in the departure hall, show your passport, plus the copies of your passport (copy machine is available), pay one Peso, and that's it, 

Some good news in addition. Some of our German friends informed us that they applied for the Travel Tax exemption even when they did not have the unlimited residence permit in their passports. I assume the reason why they succeeded was because the officials simply cannot read German. So, just try....

Some other people are eligible to avoid paying this tax as well, like airline crew members, diplomatic or UN personal etc. These people should check the requirements at the local PTA office. The one in Manila (the main office) is at the following address:

Revenue Department
Philippine Tourism Authority
Rm 117, DOT Building
TM Kalaw, Rizal Park, Manila
Tel: 5253029/5247734 Fax:5218113/5256031

Or have a look at this web site!

The Procedure

If coming from abroad for a short stay in the Philippines (less than a year!):

Before you leave the airport, go the the Travel Tax counter in the departure hall. Of course you want to get outside to meet your waiting party as fast as possible, but this would mean that you will have a lot of running/taxi and time to do/spent to process your paper later at the local Travel Tax Office (they are in Makati, San Fernando, Laoag City, Baguio City, Pamganga, Boilo City, Cebu, Cebu Airport, Zamboanga (2), Cagayan de Oro and Magsaysay). Ok, you are in the arrival hall, and it is not possible to go up with all your luggage to the departure hall (there is an escalator going up there. So the first thing to do is to deposit all your luggage and find a trustworthy Filipina to guard that as long as you are upstairs (why do I hear you laughing?). Once you are upstairs you go the the Travel Tax counter located left of the escalator on the window side of the hall. There you present your papers and your return flight ticket, you will pay a small fee (100 Pesos) and you will get the exemption certificate. This you will have to present on your departure at the ticket counter. The papers you have to present is a copy of your passport (The ID page and the page with your residence permit, make them when still at home), and a copy of the page where the immigration stamp has been stamped. (Actually I don't know if there is a public copy machine available!).

If buying the ticket in the Philippines for your trip abroad:

Go to your local Travel Tax Office in your area. (When you need the exact address, just email me). Show them your proof that you are living abroad. Remember to have sufficient number of copies available, as they want to keep them. Again after paying the processing fee you will again get your exemption certificate. This you will have to show to the travel agent, and you will get your ticket without that tax.

Some More Good News

Travel tax which has been paid already can be reimbursed within two years after the respective trip. As in most cases the tax is collected already when the ticket is ordered, many people simply do not realize that they are paying that tax. But it is important to keep the receipt and the ticket so that you request the money back later from the PTA.

The procedure here is the following:

You need to fill out the form 353, Travel Tax Refund Application. Together with three certified copies of your passport, two copies of a) the ticket, b) the proof of the permanent residence abroad (typically the residence permit in your passport is sufficient) and c) the unemployment certification as mentioned above, plus the PTA receipt you have to submit these to the nearest PTA office. The certification can be done by any Philippine Embassy or Consulate (basically the same authorities as mentioned above).

So get your money back, or prepare for your next flight.