What is Departure Tax?
Departure tax is a fee charged by a country when a person leaves the country. ‘Departure tax’ can also be called ‘airport tax’, or a few other names depending on which country you are travelling from!
Many countries will charge a departure tax only when a person is leaving by air - it is a tax that passengers have to pay in order to use an airport. Departure tax is charged for many different reasons but often includes a charge for maintaining the airport.
Various rules apply to the payment of the tax depending on which country you are flying from. In many instances, the airport departure tax will be collected by the airline you are flying with and will be included in your flight ticket. This is the model that many countries are moving towards.
However, there are many countries that require departure tax to be paid at the immigration desk at the airport, or directly to the airline you are flying with. Sometimes the tax will need to be paid in local currency - although many countries are increasingly charging departure tax in US dollars, rather than local currency.
Top Tip: For a full guide to airline taxes, check out our guide: Airline Taxes Explained
Will I need to pay departure tax when I leave my holiday destination?
You’ll need to pay a departure tax when you fly back from some countries. In many instances, many passengers will be unaware that they have paid departure tax, as it is often added to the price of a plane ticket. But in some cases, you will need to make sure you've got the correct money (in the correct currency!) ready when you arrive at the airport for your flight home.
Tax fare rules mean that different passengers may be required to pay a different tax value compared to other passengers on the same plane. For example, as of September 2019, air travellers from Malaysia flying to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and travelling in economy class will be charged RM8 ($1.90 USD) in departure tax, while passengers in other classes will need to pay RM50 ($11.90 USD).