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LOCAL HOSPITALITY AND ACCOMMODATION TAX REPORTING:

 

Q: What is local accommodations tax?
A: A local accommodations tax of 3 percent is imposed on the charges for accommodations furnished to transients.

Q: What is local hospitality tax?
A: A local Hospitality Tax of 2 percent is imposed on the purchase of prepared or modified food and/or beverages intended for immediate consumption.

Both local accommodations and hospitality taxes were created by Georgetown County Council to provide a dedicated source of revenue and an appropriate and efficient means of funding new and renovated tourist-related buildings, and cultural, recreational and historical facilities, improved beach access and beach renourishment, as well as highways, roads, streets and bridges providing access to tourist destinations. These funds may also be used for advertisements and promotions related to tourism development, and water and sewer infrastructure to serve tourism-related demand throughout Georgetown County.

Q: Who is responsible for collecting and remitting the local accommodations/hospitality tax?
A: The business establishment is responsible for collecting this tax from patrons and is required to remit such collections to Georgetown County. The failure to collect taxes does not relieve any business from making the required remittances to Georgetown County.

Q: How should the tax be remitted?
A: Taxes should be remitted to the Georgetown County Finance Department by the 20th of each month for the prior month total collections. The taxes shall be remitted monthly when the estimated amount of average tax is more than $50 per month, on a quarterly basis when the estimated amount is $25-$50 per month, and on an annual basis when the estimated amount of average tax is less than $25 per month. Each remittance must include a completed local accommodations/hospitality tax return form and a copy of the South Carolina sales tax computation form. For zero gross sales, the hospitality tax return form must be remitted indicating zero gross amounts. Businesses collecting taxes from multiple locations should complete a reporting form for each location.

Q: What if my tax payment is late?
A: Remittances are considered delinquent if postmarked by the US Postal Service after the 20th of the following month. If the due date of the return falls on Sunday or a U.S. Post Office holiday, the return is considered timely filed if it has a postmark by the U.S. Postal Service on (or before) the day immediately following that Sunday or U.S. Post Office holiday. A penalty payment of 5 percent will be due for each month, or portion thereof, on all taxes not received by the due date. Penalties will accumulate to a maximum of 100 percent on the original amount due.

Q: What is the penalty for violation of this ordinance?
A: The penalty for violation of this ordinance shall be 5 percent per month, charged on the original amount of taxes due, up to a maximum of 100 percent. Additionally, violators may be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, subject to a $500 fine and/or imprisonment for up to 30 days for each violation of this ordinance.

Q: What records do I need to keep?
A: You should retain sales records and other documentation that will adequately support all sales subject to local accommodations/hospitality taxes and reported to the county on the local accommodations/hospitality tax returns. Such records are subject to audit by the county and should be retained for a minimum of three years.

Q: What are "prepared meals and beverages?"
A: Prepared meals and beverages are products sold ready for consumption either on or off premises in businesses classified as eating and drinking places under the Standard Industrial Code Classification Manual and including: restaurants, lunch counters, drinking places operated as a subordinate service facility by other establishments, bars and restaurants owned by and operated for members of civic, social and fraternal associations.

Q: What sales by restaurants, bars and other food service establishments are subject to the hospitality tax?
A: All sales of food and beverages served by a restaurant, lounge, bar, nonprofit special event, hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, or any other food/liquor service facilities are subject to a 2 percent local hospitality tax.

Q: What sales by convenience stores are subject to the hospitality tax?
A: All sales of food and beverage items that are prepared or modified by the establishment for immediate consumption are subject to a 2 percent hospitality tax. Generally, sales of all deli and bakery department items by a grocery store would be subject to the tax.

Q: What proceeds are subject to the local accommodations tax?
A: Rental or charges for rooms, campground spaces, recreational vehicle spaces, lodgings or sleeping accommodations furnished to transients by any hotel, motel, inn, condominium, bed and breakfast, residence or other place in which rooms, lodgings or sleeping accommodations are furnished for consideration within Georgetown County are subject to a 3 percent local accommodations tax. The gross proceeds received from the lease or rental of sleeping accommodations supplied to the same person for a period of 30 or more continuous days are not considered proceeds from transients.