Getting a reduced travel tax certificate at the TIEZA Makati office
If you’ve ever traveled overseas then you’ve had to pay the Philippine travel tax at some point before your departure. The standard travel tax is P1620 for adults flying economy class, while children aged 2-11 are entitled to a reduced travel tax rate of P810. On the other hand, infants (up to their 2nd birthday on the date of travel) enjoy travel tax exemption. Other classes of travelers, including OFWs and their dependents, are entitled to either tax exemption or a privileged reduced travel tax, whatever the case may be. For more information about the Philippine travel tax, visit the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) web site.
Depending on which airline you’re flying, tickets purchased online may or may not include the Philippine travel tax. Philippine Airlines, for instance, will add the travel tax if the passenger/s is an adult or a group of adults. If the booking includes a child passenger, no travel tax charges will be made on the e-ticket, so the tax will have to be paid at the airport. Air Asia gives travelers the option to pay for the travel tax when booking online; declining the offer means you’re choosing to settle it at the airport. If a child is included in the traveling party, it’s best to pay the tax at the airport, where the reduced travel tax privilege may be availed.
If you’re booking and paying for your air tickets through an airline ticketing agency or travel agent, you’ll have to pay the travel tax upfront. The travel tax will then be remitted to the TIEZA office by the airline. What many travelers don’t know is that the airline or agent will only honor a tax exemption or reduced tax privilege when you present a certification from the TIEZA. Without a tax exemption or reduced travel tax certificate from TIEZA, you’ll be paying the default rate of P1620 (economy-class) per passenger, in which case your only recourse for availing of the special tax rate is to apply for a refund from TIEZA. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather obtain the reduced travel tax certificate from TIEZA from the get-go than try to get a refund later.
The good news is that starting July 25, 2016, TIEZA will no longer collect a processing fee (P200) for every travel tax certificate to be issued, whether for exemption, reduced rate, or refund. I happened to be at the TIEZA office in Makati City on the exact day that the processing fee was scrapped. Talk about auspicious timing! I’d always found P200 to be exorbitant for a processing fee, considering the only cost to them (at least, the visible cost) was photocopying passports and documents and printing the certificate. So it felt like Christmas in July when I learned I didn’t have to cough up a single peso for my son’s reduced travel tax certificate. Kudos to TIEZA for making it really more fun in the Philippines!
The TIEZA Makati office is located on 142 Amorsolo Street, Legazpi Village. The nearest landmark is the Makati Cinema Square (MCS). From the back of the MCS, you can walk across Amorsolo St. to the TIEZA building. The waiting area has ample seating, and the air conditioning is a welcome respite from the tropical heat. When I got to the TIEZA Makati office, there were only three other people waiting to be served. The TIEZA employees went about their duties with a smile. When my turn came, I presented my son’s passport for photocopying (they do the photocopying, so don’t bother bringing any) and waited for my name to be called. My bum had barely warmed my seat when they called me to collect the reduced travel tax certificate. The entire process took about 20 minutes.
Next I proceeded to my airline’s ticketing office to purchase our tickets. I handed the ticketing agent my son’s reduced travel tax certificate from TIEZA. Consequently, the reduced travel tax was applied, and I was a happy camper. That’s one less queue to wait in at the airport. If that sounds like an attractive prospect to you, you can pay your travel tax online or at any TIEZA office days ahead of your flight. Keep in mind, however, that reduced tax rates are unavailable online; you can only pay the standard travel tax with the online option. If you or anyone in your traveling party is entitled to a reduced travel tax, I suggest you make the payment personally at any of the TIEZA travel tax offices in the Philippines. Just bring your tickets/itinerary and passport with valid visa. Otherwise, be prepared to wait in line to the TIEZA counter at the airport.