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Getting to Bonaire: EXIT TAX SCAM IN BONAIRE
Getting to Bonaire:
Archives - 2005-01-01 to 2005-05-01:
EXIT TAX SCAM IN BONAIRE
| By gregg brewer (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #682) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 1:30 am: |
I was waiting in line this a.m. to buy my exit tax stamp for a flight on BE to Aruba (connecting with Delta to ATL). I noticed the agent was charging people $20 for the exit tax ticket for Aruba. When my companion got to the counter, I told her the tax was only $6 for a flight to Aruba (pink tax ticket)...the agent insisted it was $20 for the yellow one and it would be $30 if we bought it in Aruba. I insisted on the pink one. The $30 exit tax is already included in your ticket fare on the US based airlines. If you pay $20 in Bonaire, you are paying twice.
I reported previously about the habit in Aruba to try to charge their exit tax (in U.S. cash) when connecting on flights from Aruba to Bonaire...there is no tax if you are only transient. If the agent tries to charge you, ask to speak to the supervisor
| By Jan Klos (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #292) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 8:00 am: |
I'm a little confused... All visitors &(residents- not sure) pay a departure tax... If they have stayed overnight on the island. You are correct as Transients do not pay a tax just to change planes or refuel. However I have never seen a US carrier include the departure tax of a foreign destination in their ticket prices...Are you confusing this with the US departure tax ? sometimes when you book thru a tour company the departure tax is included in the total price.
Maybe someone with direct knowledge can shed some light--- AP where are you?
Hope you had a great vacation & a smooth flight home... lots of stormy weather around
| By gregg brewer (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #683) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 9:38 am: |
Yes, everybody pays the departure tax...the point I was making is that the agent collecting departure tax in Bonaire for people travellng to Aruba (U.S.) was charging people the wrong tax...if you don't know any better, you will end up paying the $20...remember, this tax is paid in cash in U.S. dollars...
| By Belinda Z (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #218) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 10:24 am: |
I'm still confused. Were you going to the U.S. via Aruba or just a day trip to Aruba?
If you were going to the U.S. via Aruba then you should pay the international departure tax which is $20.
| By Belinda Z (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #219) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 10:27 am: |
I just reread your first post and saw that you were indeed going to the U.S. via Aruba. You should have paid the international departure tax which is $20. There is no scam here.
This is copied from InfoBonaire:
"International departure tax is US$20 per person, payable upon departure. This is usually not included in your airline ticket but some tour companies may include it. Domestic departure tax is Nafl 10,00."
| By gregg brewer (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #684) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 12:17 pm: |
I do not believe your interpretation from InfoBonaire is correct. If I were leaving Bonaire on AJ or AA, you would be correct because these are international departures. A flight to Aruba is considered domestic and only requires the $6 tax...since you are flying on a separate ticket (as far as I know, you cannot get a thru ticket from BON thru Aruba to the USA), the Bonaire departure folks only know you are going to Aruba; they should never see your US ticket. It is Aruba's responsibility to charge you their exit tax (not Bonaire) and there is no tax from Aruba if you are in transit...when you depart Aruba, you are actually departing the U.S. since you clear U.S. customs and immigration in Aruba. There is no mechanism in Aruba to collect a departure tax to the U.S. (unlike Bonaire) I've made this trip 4 times now and always pay the $6 ticket...be my guest, pay Bonaire $20 for an international departure from Aruba..Aruba will not receive the $$; those $$ will stay in Bonaire. I am only alerting BT travellers that if they are using BE to get to Aruba to then get to the U.S., they only need the pink ticket...scam or no scam, call it what you want...
| By Kelly Baum (Extraordinary BonaireTalker - Post #2198) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 12:47 pm: |
I want to chime in with my opinion on this since I made this route this past summer. I feel that even though I am going to Aruba and changing carriers, I am STILL going to the US after that, so I KNOW that my departure is an international departure. Yes, I am going to Aruba on BE, so the Bonaire people don't know where I am going from there, but I think that's just playing a shell game. Pay the $20 in Bonaire, it goes to a good cause.
| By Jake Richter (Moderator - Post #5310) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 1:15 pm: |
Gregg's actually probably correct, folks. I deal with this issue every time I fly out of Bonaire to Curacao and then on to the U.S.
For U.S. flight on American out of Curacao (and presumably other U.S. carriers from Curacao and Aruba, based on Gregg's experience), the International departure tax is already included in the ticket price.
If I were to pay the international departure fee in Bonaire, I'd be paying double. So I pay the Bonaire to Curacao fee (NAF 10) to get to Curacao, and use the built-in International departure tax in my AA ticket from Curacao to take care of my departure from Curacao.
On this last trip on Tuesday, however, I was a bit distracted when I checked in in Curacao and didn't notice that the AA ticket agent stamped my boarding pass "transit", and then had to explain to the security folks that the departure tax is included in the ticket when I showed them my Bonaire to Curacao departure tax receipt.
For Aruba, there is an inter-island rate, as Gregg points out. The person at the tax window was undoubtedly not aware (and disbelieving) that the departure tax was included in Gregg's Aruba to U.S. ticket, which I presume was a separate ticket. If you hold a single ticket on Delta which includes the Bonaire to Aruba and Aruba to wherever routing, then it's quite possible that Aruba departure tax is not included and you need to pay the Bonaire International departure tax.
My advice is if you have a separate ticket from Bonaire to Curacao or Aruba is to tell the tax person at the window that that is your destination and only pay the inter-island tax.
As far as the departure tax going to a good cause, is paying for government waste and excesses a good cause? :-)
| By Belinda Z (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #220) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 2:32 pm: |
Gregg and Jake,
Thanks for clearing that up! I was thinking the same way Kelly was and did not realize that the departure tax was ever built in to airline tickets. I always fly AA through San Juan and it is never built in to these tickets (as far as I know but you can be sure I will be checking before our next trip) so I was uninformed.
If however, the departure tax is NOT built in to the ticket from Aruba to the US then I wholeheartedly agree with Kelly - you should pay the international departure tax. If you only pay the domestic one in Bonaire then say you are "in transit" in Aruba you have basically cheated your way out of paying departure tax to the U.S.
Just my $.02
| By gregg brewer (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #685) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 3:01 pm: |
tks Jake...yes a separate ticket...as far as I am concerned, the only thing the lady at the exit tax counter needs to know is that I am going to Aruba...I am not interested in conversation...the flight from BON to AUA is not considered international... If anybody has an issue, it would be from Aruba; not Bonaire
the tax is identified on your ticket... I've not flown AA for so long I don't remember what it says on the ticket...I wouldn't be surprised that the tax is included in the ticket and you are paying double....
Belinda and others, I guess there is a philosophical difference...I don't pay ANY taxes to ANYBODY unless I have to and certainly not under some premise that it would be a good cause... I've never seen where giving money to a government is a good cause..they will surely waste it
| By michael gaynor (Extraordinary BonaireTalker - Post #1877) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 3:03 pm: |
Sorry Gregg you are mistaken! Aruba is an international destination from Bonaire and Curacao since 1986 when Aruba took status aparte and left the Netherlands Antilles. The $20 departure tax is correct....no scam....
| By gregg brewer (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #686) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 3:46 pm: |
you may be correct but I respectfully disagree... I believe the $6 tax is correct... I watched the people in line, the locals going to Aruba were given the pink tickets...all U.S. travellers were fed the yellow ones.. I understand what you are saying about the independence...there must still be some type of quasi relationship as it deals with air travel... the Bonairians travel to Aruba as non international...ask around your shop what the Bonairians pay when they go to Aruba and let us know
this trip is the first trip out of four that the agent pushed the "yellow" ticket...all other times they provided the pink ticket when I told them I was going to Aruba. The agent gave me the pink ticket when I insisted. The rationale of the agent that we would have to pay $30 in Aruba for departure tax if we didn't pay her $20 was preposturous. The BE ticket agents readily accepted the pink departure tax form when checking in for the flight (otherwise they would have sent me back for the other one). The gate agents in Bonaire boarding the flight also confirmed and accepted the pink tickets to Aruba...the only persons boarding the flight with yellow tickets were the gringos who were suckered into buying them...unlike Bonaire, the gate agents in Aruba do not request the departure tax.
I think this is a similar scenario except in reverse when travelling from Aruba to Bonaire. The counter agents in Aruba often attempt to collect a departure tax from the U.S. travellers who are transitioning thru Aruba to Bonaire...they collect this in U.S. cash at the check in counter...if you ask for a supervisor, the agent will then tell you that the tax is not required (I spoke to the supervisor in Aruba on an earlier trip to understand the regulation)...its all in understanding the regulation
| By Benji beaujon (BonaireTalker - Post #13) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 3:51 pm: |
Yes micheal is right the International flight from bonaire meaning anywhere out of the netherlands antilles( Bonaire, Curacao, St. Marten, Saba and St.Ustatius Known as statia)which are local flights, which is why she charged you $20.
| By Benji beaujon (BonaireTalker - Post #14) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 3:54 pm: |
Okay Gregg you may be right.
| By Kelly Baum (Extraordinary BonaireTalker - Post #2199) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 4:02 pm: |
Just another example of how I should get all the facts straight before I go spouting off.... lol..
| By gregg brewer (Experienced BonaireTalker - Post #687) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 6:06 pm: |
I didn't make this posting with the intent of creating debate or controversy. My intent was to save US travellers money. I have now travelled 4 (maybe 5) times from BON to AUA (then on to the U.S.)using the BE connection and have only paid $6 each time...None of the other travellers whom I regular bring with me have never paid more either. I've never been questioned by the ticket agent at check-in (who verifies the departure tax) nor the agent at the boarding gate (who collects the boarding pass with the tax stamp attached). I can assure you that if you don't have a departure tax card, the ticket agent will not check you in...my understanding is (was) that even though Aruba was not part of the Antilles any longer, a trip to Aruba is still considered a local flight.
the choice is yours...pay $20 per person or pay $6....
| By Jake Richter (Moderator - Post #5312) on Thursday, January 6, 2005 - 6:46 pm: |
Note that departure tax for Bonaire originated international flights is always paid in cash and not included in the ticket price. I understand that this is because in the past there were companies who collected departure tax but kept the money for themselves.
As far as the departure tax to Aruba, that was changed from being an international ($20) destination to being something more expensive than another Antilles island but less than international as part of a joint tourism agreement with Aruba a few years ago. Aruba dropped their tax to Bonaire as part of that agreement at the time, but has subsequently raised it again.
| By michael gaynor (Extraordinary BonaireTalker - Post #1878) on Friday, January 7, 2005 - 5:47 pm: |
The 10 guilder tax is for Bonairean residents Gregg.....sort of a compromise and a political concession.
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