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reef taxes

Calgary, Canada
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3,591 posts
18 reviews
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reef taxes

Every tour I have looked at to go out to the reef has mentioned a reef tax on top of their tour price. I have experienced this type of environmental fee before, and am not suprised or disturbed by it.

But I'm very confused by the fact that every tour seems to charge a different reef tax. If it's a government fee, shouldn't it be the same for everyone?

So I did a Google search and found the Environment Management Charge imposed by the GBR Maritime Park Authority. It specifies the charge is $4.50 per day up to a maximum of 3 days. But some of the tour companies are asking for $9, $10, or even $12 per day.

Is there another authority that's imposing a fee that would explain the difference?

gk
Brisbane, Australia
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2,280 posts
55 reviews
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1. Re: reef taxes

The EMC base price is $4.50, but there are other charges on top of that if you have a pontoon etc. So the charge will be different for every tour company. There's a government website with some information here:

www.gbrmpa.gov.au/corp_site/permits/emc.html

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712 posts
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2. Re: reef taxes

Just only last week, the EMC was nearly doubled, and the average has been $10 pp pday, so yes, this is correct information, then add the extras as explained re: costs, pontoons etc, and you have a variance in the costs.

Calgary, Canada
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3,591 posts
18 reviews
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3. Re: reef taxes

That was the website I had found. But other than the "per person" charges, I don't think they're supposed to be charging people directly for the taxes. These are business taxes, just like a store owner has to pay property taxes. Charging people directly is creating a profit for the business. For example, the pontoon fee is $180 every 3 months, assuming you have a large pontoon. The large companies can easily take 200 people to the pontoon in a day. If they charge $2 per person for the pontoon tax, they can bring in $400 in a day. That's $36,000 in 3 months, of which only $180 is going to the government for reef protection programs.

It seems really dishonest to let people believe the money is being demanded by the government and used to protect the environment, when it's really going into the business's profit.

And that money is almost all cash, so the business probably isn't even paying income tax on it.

Every business has to pay taxes and fees as part of doing business. That store owner doesn't charge $2 for every person that enters the store to cover his property taxes. And they don't charge you X dollars for the tour, and Y dollars for the cost of gas in the boat, and Z dollars for the payments to the bank to buy the boat...

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712 posts
55 reviews
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4. Re: reef taxes

Gosh, you seem really upset with this!

I guess, you could just stay home?

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
3,591 posts
18 reviews
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5. Re: reef taxes

That's not a very helpful response.

First of all, you need to realize that when communicating online, you have no way of knowing how someone is feeling. There is no tone of voice or facial expressions to tell you if someone is upset. You should always assume the most innocent of intentions.

For the record, I am not upset, I am confused. I am trying to determine if this is really a scam. Or maybe there's another legitamite fee that they're lumping in with the reef tax. I was explaining why I don't think the provided website lists all the fees.

Also, I assume that there are some reputable companies out there and those are the ones I want to deal with. I think it's a clear indication of the integrity of a company if they are scamming customers in this way, and knowing the truth can help me decide which of these companies I want to give my money and entrust my life to.

In the spirit of what I said about assuming intentions, I assume you didn't intend to be mean, but point out the absurdity of worrying about $10 in the course of planning a $5000+ vacation.

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