Local Occupancy Taxes
RULES CONCERNING ROOM OCCUPANCY TAXES ACCORDING TO NCGS
Currently, local ordinance establishes the local occupancy tax rate at 0%. The County has authority to establish the local occupancy tax rate at no more than 6%. And, now that a professional marketing study on promoting tourism is nearly complete, the County will likely consider whether to re-enact the local occupancy tax in the near future.
The following rules and definitions are excerpted from the North Carolina General Statutes. In no way is this list meant to be a comprehensive list, yet this list is meant to serve as a reference tool for the more commonly known rules.
§ 105-164.4F. Accommodation rentals.
(a) Definition. - The following definitions apply in this section:
(1) Accommodation. - A hotel room, a motel room, a residence, a cottage, or a similar lodging facility for occupancy by an individual.
(2) Facilitator. - A person who is not a rental agent and who contracts with a provider of an accommodation to market the accommodation and to accept payment from the consumer for the accommodation.
(3) Rental agent. - The term includes a real estate broker, as defined in G.S. 93A-2.
(b) Tax. - The gross receipts derived from the rental of an accommodation are taxed at the general rate set in G.S. 105-164.4. Gross receipts derived from the rental of an accommodation include the sales price of the rental of the accommodation. The sales price of the rental of an accommodation is determined as if the rental were a rental of tangible personal property. The sales price of the rental of an accommodation marketed by a facilitator includes charges designated as facilitation fees and any other charges necessary to complete the rental.
(c) Facilitator Transactions. - A facilitator must report to the retailer with whom it has a contract the sales price a consumer pays to the facilitator for an accommodation rental marketed by the facilitator. A retailer must notify a facilitator when an accommodation rental marketed by the facilitator is completed, and the facilitator must send the retailer the portion of the sales price the facilitator owes the retailer and the tax due on the sales price no later than 10 days after the end of each calendar month. A facilitator that does not send the retailer the tax due on the sales price is liable for the amount of tax the facilitator fails to send. A facilitator is not liable for tax sent to a retailer but not remitted by the retailer to the Secretary. Tax payments received by a retailer from a facilitator are held in trust by the retailer for remittance to the Secretary. A retailer that receives a tax payment from a facilitator must remit the amount received to the Secretary. A retailer is not liable for tax due but not received from a facilitator. The requirements imposed by this section on a retailer and a facilitator are considered terms of the contract between the retailer and the facilitator.
(d) Rental Agent. - A person who, by written contract, agrees to be the rental agent for the provider of an accommodation is considered a retailer under this Article and is liable for the tax imposed by this section. The liability of a rental agent for the tax imposed by this section relieves the provider of the accommodation from liability.
(e) Exemptions. - The tax imposed by this section does not apply to the following:
(1) A private residence, cottage, or similar accommodation that is rented for fewer than 15 days in a calendar year other than a private residence, cottage, or similar accommodation listed with a real estate broker or agent.
(2) An accommodation supplied to the same person for a period of 90 or more continuous days.
(3) An accommodation arranged or provided to a person by a school, camp, or similar entity where a tuition or fee is charged to the person for enrollment in the school, camp, or similar entity. (2014-3, s. 8.1(b).)
§ 153A-155. Uniform provisions for room occupancy taxes.
(a) Scope. - This section applies only to counties the General Assembly has authorized to levy room occupancy taxes.
(b) Levy. - A room occupancy tax may be levied only by resolution, after not less than 10 days' public notice and after a public hearing held pursuant thereto. A room occupancy tax shall become effective on the date specified in the resolution levying the tax. That date must be the first day of a calendar month, however, and may not be earlier than the first day of the second month after the date the resolution is adopted.
(c) Collection. - A retailer who is required to remit to the Department of Revenue the State sales tax imposed by G.S. 105-164.4(a)(3) on accommodations is required to remit a room occupancy tax to the taxing county on and after the effective date of the levy of the room occupancy tax. The room occupancy tax applies to the same gross receipts as the State sales tax on accommodations and is calculated in the same manner as that tax. A rental agent or a facilitator, as defined in G.S. 105-164.4(a)(3), has the same responsibility and liability under the room occupancy tax as the rental agent or facilitator has under the State sales tax on accommodations.
If a taxable accommodation is furnished as part of a package, the bundled transaction provisions in G.S. 105-164.4D apply in determining the sales price of the taxable accommodation. If those provisions do not address the type of package offered, the person offering the package may determine an allocated price for each item in the package based on a reasonable allocation of revenue that is supported by the person's business records kept in the ordinary course of business and calculate tax on the allocated price of the taxable accommodation.
A retailer must separately state the room occupancy tax. Room occupancy taxes paid to a retailer are held in trust for and on account of the taxing county.
The taxing county shall design and furnish to all appropriate businesses and persons in the county the necessary forms for filing returns and instructions to ensure the full collection of the tax. A retailer who collects a room occupancy tax may deduct from the amount remitted to the taxing county a discount equal to the discount the State allows the retailer for State sales and use tax.
(d) Administration. - The taxing county shall administer a room occupancy tax it levies. A room occupancy tax is due and payable to the county finance officer in monthly installments on or before the 20th day of the month following the month in which the tax accrues. Every person, firm, corporation, or association liable for the tax shall, on or before the 20th day of each month, prepare and render a return on a form prescribed by the taxing county. The return shall state the total gross receipts derived in the preceding month from rentals upon which the tax is levied. A room occupancy tax return filed with the county finance officer is not a public record and may not be disclosed except in accordance with G.S. 153A-148.1 or G.S. 160A-208.1.
(e) Penalties. - A person, firm, corporation, or association who fails or refuses to file a room occupancy tax return or pay a room occupancy tax as required by law is subject to the civil and criminal penalties set by G.S. 105-236 for failure to pay or file a return for State sales and use taxes. The governing board of the taxing county has the same authority to waive the penalties for a room occupancy tax that the Secretary of Revenue has to waive the penalties for State sales and use taxes.
(f) Repeal or Reduction. - A room occupancy tax levied by a county may be repealed or reduced by a resolution adopted by the governing body of the county. Repeal or reduction of a room occupancy tax shall become effective on the first day of a month and may not become effective until the end of the fiscal year in which the resolution was adopted. Repeal or reduction of a room occupancy tax does not affect a liability for a tax that was attached before the effective date of the repeal or reduction, nor does it affect a right to a refund of a tax that accrued before the effective date of the repeal or reduction.
(f1) Use. - The proceeds of a room occupancy tax shall not be used for development or construction of a hotel or another transient lodging facility.
(g) Applicability. - Subsection (c) of this section applies to all counties and county districts that levy an occupancy tax. To the extent subsection (c) conflicts with any provision of a local act, subsection (c) supersedes that provision. The remainder of this section applies only to Alleghany, Anson, Brunswick, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Camden, Carteret, Caswell, Chatham, Cherokee, Chowan, Clay, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Davie, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Graham, Granville, Halifax, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Madison, Martin, McDowell, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Person, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Swain, Transylvania, Tyrrell, Vance, Washington, Wayne, and Wilson Counties, to New Hanover County District U, to Surry County District S, to Watauga County District U, to Wilkes County District K, to Yadkin County District Y, and to the Township of Averasboro in Harnett County and the Ocracoke Township Taxing District. (1997-102, s. 3; 1997-255, s. 2; 1997-342, s. 2; 1997-364, s. 3; 1997-410, s. 6; 1998-14, s. 2; 1999-155, s. 2; 1999-205, s. 2; 1999-286, s. 2; 2000-103, s. 5; 2001-162, s. 2; 2001-305, s. 2; 2001-321, s. 3; 2001-381, s. 10; 2001-434, s. 1; 2001-439, s. 18.2; 2001-468, s. 3; 2001-480, s. 14; 2001-484, s. 2; 2002-138, s. 5; 2004-106, s. 2; 2004-120, s. 3; 2004-170, ss. 36(a), 42(a); 2004-199, s. 60(a); 2005-16, s. 2; 2005-46, s. 1.2; 2005-53, s. 2; 2005-197, s. 6; 2005-233, s. 6.1; 2006-120, s. 8.1; 2006-127, s. 2; 2006-128, s. 6; 2006-129, s. 2; 2006-162, s. 20(a); 2006-167, s. 7(e); 2006-264, s. 81(a); 2007-19, s. 3; 2007-63, s. 3; 2007-223, s. 3; 2007-224, s. 5; 2007-265, s. 2; 2007-315, s. 2; 2007-318, s. 2; 2007-337, s. 3; 2007-340, s. 9; 2007-527, ss. 23, 43; 2008-33, s. 2; 2008-134, s. 12(b); 2008-187, s. 31; 2009-112, s. 4; 2009-157, s. 2; 2009-297, s. 3; 2010-31, ss. 31.6(c), (d); 2010-78, s. 10; 2010-123, s. 10.2; 2011-113, s. 4; 2011-115, s. 4; 2011-170, s. 5; 2012-100, s. 1; 2012-144, s. 4; 2012-194, s. 35; 2013-255, s. 3; 2015-128, s. 7; 2015-255, s. 6.1.)
§ 105-164.4. Tax imposed on retailers and certain facilitators. (excerpted applicable sections only)
(a) A privilege tax is imposed on a retailer engaged in business in the State at the percentage rates of the retailer's net taxable sales or gross receipts, listed in this subsection. The general rate of tax is four and three-quarters percent (4.75%). The percentage rates are as follows:
(1) The general rate of tax applies to the sales price of each item or article of tangible personal property that is sold at retail and is not subject to tax under another subdivision in this section. This subdivision does not apply to repair, maintenance, and installation services for real property; these services are taxable under subdivision (16) of this subsection.
(2) The applicable percentage rate applies to the gross receipts derived from the lease or rental of tangible personal property by a person who is engaged in business of leasing or renting tangible personal property, or is a retailer and leases or rents property of the type sold by the retailer. The applicable percentage rate is the rate and the maximum tax, if any, that applies to a sale of the property that is leased or rented. A person who leases or rents property shall also collect the tax imposed by this section on the separate retail sale of the property.
(3) The general rate applies to the gross receipts derived from the rental of an accommodation. These rentals are taxed in accordance with G.S. 105-164.4F.
(4) Every person engaged in the business of operating a dry cleaning, pressing, or hat-blocking establishment, a laundry, or any similar business, engaged in the business of renting clean linen or towels or wearing apparel, or any similar business, or engaged in the business of soliciting cleaning, pressing, hat blocking, laundering or linen rental business for any of these businesses, is considered a retailer under this Article. A tax at the general rate of tax is levied on the gross receipts derived by these retailers from services rendered in engaging in any of the occupations or businesses named in this subdivision. The tax imposed by this subdivision does not apply to receipts derived from coin, token, or card-operated washing machines, extractors, and dryers. The tax imposed by this subdivision does not apply to gross receipts derived from services performed for resale by a retailer that pays the tax on the total gross receipts derived from the services.
(b) The tax levied in this section shall be collected from the retailer and paid by him at the time and in the manner as hereinafter provided. A person engaging in business as a retailer shall pay the tax required on the net taxable sales of the business at the rates specified when proper books are kept showing separately the gross proceeds of taxable and nontaxable sales of items subject to tax under subsection (a) of this section in a form that may be accurately and conveniently checked by the Secretary or the Secretary's duly authorized agent. If the records are not kept separately, the tax shall be paid on the gross sales of the business and the exemptions and exclusions provided by this Article are not allowed. The tax levied in this section is in addition to all other taxes whether levied in the form of excise, license, privilege, or other taxes. The requirements of this subsection apply to facilitators liable for tax under this Article.
(c) Certificate of Registration. - Before a person may engage in business as a retailer or a wholesale merchant in this State, the person must obtain a certificate of registration from the Department in accordance with G.S. 105-164.29. A facilitator that is liable for tax under this Article must obtain a certificate of registration from the Department in accordance with G.S. 105-164.29. (1957, c. 1340, s. 5; 1959, c. 1259, s. 5; 1961, c. 826, s. 2; 1963, c. 1169, ss. 3, 11; 1967, c. 1110, s. 6; c. 1116; 1969, c. 1075, s. 5; 1971, c. 887, s. 1; 1973, c. 476, s. 193; c. 1287, s. 8; 1975, c. 752; 1977, c. 903; 1977, 2nd Sess., c. 1218; 1979, c. 17, s. 1; c. 22; c. 48, s. 1; c. 527, s. 1; c. 801, s. 73; 1981, c. 984, ss. 1, 2; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), cc. 1207, 1273; 1983, c. 510; c. 713, ss. 89, 93; c. 805, ss. 1, 2; 1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1065, ss. 1, 2, 4; c. 1097, ss. 6, 13; 1985, c. 704; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 925; c. 1005; 1987, c. 557, ss. 4, 5; c. 800, ss. 2, 3; c. 854, s. 1; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1044, s. 4; 1989, c. 692, ss. 3.1, 3.3, 8.4(8); c. 770, s. 74.4; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 813, ss. 14, 15; 1991, c. 598, s. 5; c. 689, s. 311; c. 690, s. 1; 1993, c. 372, s. 1; c. 484, s. 2; 1995, c. 17, s. 6; c. 477, s. 1; 1996, 2nd Ex. Sess., c. 13, ss. 1.1, 9.1, 9.2; 1997-475, s. 1.1; 1998-22, s. 5; 1998-55, ss. 8, 14; 1998-98, ss. 13.2, 48(a), (b); 1998-121, ss. 3, 5; 1998-197, s. 1; 1998-212, s. 29A.1(a); 1999-337, ss. 29, 30; 1999-360, s. 3(a), (b); 1999-438, s. 1; 2000-140, s. 67(a); 2001-424, ss. 34.13(a), 34.17(a), 34.23(b), 34.25(a); 2001-430, ss. 3, 4, 5; 2001-476, ss. 17(b)-(d), (f); 2001-487, ss. 67(b), 122(a)-(c); 2002-16, s. 4; 2003-284, s. 38.1; 2003-400, s. 15; 2004-110, ss. 6.1, 6.2, 6.3; 2005-144, s. 9.1; 2005-276, ss. 33.1, 33.4(a), (b); 2006-33, ss. 2, 11; 2006-66, ss. 24.1(a), (b), (c), 24.19(a), (b); 2006-151, s. 3; 2007-145, s. 9(a); 2007-323, ss. 31.2(a), (b), 31.16.3(h), 31.16.4(g); 2007-397, s. 10(a)-(f); 2009-451, s. 27A.2(b), (e); 2010-31, s. 31.6(a); 2010-123, s. 10.2; 2011-330, s. 16; 2013-316, ss. 3.1(a), 4.1(c), (e), 5(b), 6(b); 2013-414, ss. 9, 40; 2014-3, ss. 4.1(b), 5.1(a), (f), 6.1(b), 7.1(b), 8.1(a), 14.8; 2014-39, s. 1(a); 2015-6, s. 2.1(b); 2015-98, s. 1(h); 2015-241, s. 32.18(b); 2015-259, ss. 4.1(b), 4.2(b); 2016-92, s. 2.3; 2016-94, s. 38.5(e).)
§ 105-164.4D. Bundled transactions.
(a) Tax Application. - Tax applies to the sales price of a bundled transaction unless one of the following applies:
(1) Fifty percent (50%) test. - All of the products in the bundle are tangible personal property, the bundle includes one or more of the exempt products listed in this subdivision, and the price of the taxable products in the bundle does not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the price of the bundle:
a. Food exempt under G.S. 105-164.13B.
b. A drug exempt under G.S. 105-164.13(13).
c. Medical devices, equipment, or supplies exempt under G.S. 105-164.13(12).
(2) Allocation. - The bundle includes a service, and the retailer determines an allocated price for each product in the bundle based on a reasonable allocation of revenue that is supported by the retailer's business records kept in the ordinary course of business. In this circumstance, tax applies to the allocated price of each taxable product in the bundle.
(3) Ten percent (10%) test. - The price of the taxable products in the bundle does not exceed ten percent (10%) of the price of the bundle, and no other subdivision in this subsection applies.
(4) Prepaid meal plan. - The bundle includes a prepaid meal plan and a dollar value that declines with use. In this circumstance, tax applies to the allocated price of the prepaid meal plan. The tax applies to items purchased with the dollar value that declines with use as the dollar value is presented for payment.
(5) Tuition, room, and meals. - The bundle includes tuition, room, and meals offered by an institution of higher education. In this circumstance, tax applies to the allocated price of the meals. The institution determines the allocated price for meals based on a reasonable allocation of revenue that is supported by the institution's business records kept in the ordinary course of business.
(6) Service contract. - The bundle includes a contract for two or more services, one of which is subject to tax under this Article and one of which is not subject to tax under this Article. The person must determine an allocated price for the taxable service portion of the contract in the bundle based on a reasonable allocation of revenue that is supported by the person's business records kept in the ordinary course of business.
(b) Determining Threshold. - A retailer of a bundled transaction subject to this section may use either the retailer's purchase price or the retailer's sales price to determine if the transaction meets the fifty percent (50%) test or the ten percent (10%) test set out in subdivisions (a)(1) and (a)(3) of this section. A retailer may not use a combination of purchase price and sales price to make this determination. If a bundled transaction subject to subdivision (a)(3) of this section includes a service contract, the retailer must use the full term of the contract in determining whether the transaction meets the threshold set in the subdivision. (2006-151, ss. 4, 5; 2007-244, s. 2; 2014-3, s. 4.1(d); 2016-5, s. 3.7(a); 2016-94, s. 38.5(f).)
§ 153A-148.1. Disclosure of certain information prohibited.
(a) Disclosure Prohibited. - Notwithstanding Chapter 132 of the General Statutes or any other law regarding access to public records, local tax records that contain information about a taxpayer's income or receipts are not public records. A current or former officer, employee, or agent of a county who in the course of service to or employment by the county has access to information about the amount of a taxpayer's income or receipts may not disclose the information to any other person unless the disclosure is made for one of the following purposes:
(1) To comply with a court order or a law.
(2) Review by the Attorney General or a representative of the Attorney General.
(3) To sort, process, or deliver tax information on behalf of the county, as necessary to administer a tax.
(4) To exchange information with a regional public transportation authority or a regional transportation authority created pursuant to Article 26 or Article 27 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes, when the information is needed to fulfill a duty imposed on the authority or on the county.
(5) To exchange information with the Department of Revenue, when the information is needed to fulfill a duty imposed on the Department or on the county.
(6) To include on a property tax receipt the amount of property taxes due and the amount of property taxes deferred on a residence classified under G.S. 105-277.1B, the property tax homestead circuit breaker.
(7) To disclose to the authorized finance officer of any municipality located within the county tax information in the possession of the county, as necessary to administer a tax.
(b) Punishment. - A person who violates this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the person committing the violation is an officer or employee, that person shall be dismissed from public office or public employment and may not hold any public office or public employment in this State for five years after the violation. (1993, c. 485, s. 33; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 14, s. 66; 1998-139, s. 2; 2008-35, s. 1.4; 2016-92, s. 3.1(a).)