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State Hotel-Motel - FAQ
What is the state hotel-motel fee?
The state hotel-motel fee is a $5 per night fee on each calendar night a hotel room is rented until the rental becomes an “extended stay rental.” An “extended stay rental” is the rental of a hotel room for 31 or more consecutive days to the same customer.
Why does Georgia have a state hotel-motel fee?
The 2015 Georgia General Assembly passed the state hotel-motel fee in House Bill 170 and House Bill 106.
What types of facilities are required to charge the fee?
All facilities that meet the definition of a “hotel” are required to charge the fee. “Hotel” means a building that has 5 or more hotel rooms under common ownership, regardless of the name of the establishment and regardless of how the establishment classifies itself.
Example: A guest rents a cabin at a facility that has 10 free-standing cabins on a single property. Each cabin is offered as a single accommodation, and the guest renting the cabin has access to all the rooms in the cabin. The cabin is not a “hotel” because it does not have 5 or more hotel rooms.
“Hotel room” means a room (or suite of conjoined rooms offered as a single accommodation) (i) in a hotel (ii) that is used to provide private sleeping accommodations to paying customers and (iii) that typically includes linen or housekeeping service. A hotel room is usually occupied by transients or travelers who do not enjoy an exclusive right or privilege with respect to the room, but instead merely have an agreement for the private use or possession of the room. A room is a “hotel room” only if the customer has the right to exclude other customers from the room.
Example: A facility consists of rooms with beds for rent. A customer renting a bed in a room does not have the right to exclude another customer from renting a bed in the same room. Since the room is not a private sleeping accommodation, it is not a “hotel room.”
Example: A camp provides overnight sleeping accommodations in multi-bed, single-room cabins. The guests provide their own bedding. The accommodations provided by the camp are not “hotel rooms” because they are not private and because the camp does not provide linen service.
Example: A hotel rents a suite with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen at a nightly rate of $400. The suite comprises one “hotel room.”
When did hotels begin adding the fee to hotel room rentals?
The fee applies to all hotel room rentals that occur and are paid for on or after July 1, 2015.
Does the fee apply to complimentary hotel rooms?
No. Complimentary hotel rooms for which no rent or other consideration is paid are not subject to the fee.
Does the fee apply to hotel rooms provided at no charge to hotel employees?
The fee applies to hotel rooms provided to hotel employees at no charge if the rooms must be included in the employee’s wages for purposes of federal income tax.
Does the fee apply to additional nights provided at no additional charge to customers who purchase a specified number of nights?
Yes. For example, a hotel advertises, “Buy 4 nights, get the 5th night free.” Taking advantage of the deal, a customer purchases 5 nights for $400. Each night of the customer’s 5-night stay is subject to the fee.
Does the fee apply to additional rooms provided at no charge as a group booking concession?
Yes. For example, a hotel’s rate for a one-night rental of 50 rooms is $5000. In exchange for a customer’s $5000 payment for a 50-room block, the hotel gives the customer an additional room for one night at no additional charge. Because the customer has rented 51 rooms for one night at the price of $5000, the fee applies to each of the 51 rooms.
Does the fee apply to hotel rooms purchased by redeeming reward points?
Yes. Rooms purchased by redeeming reward points are subject to the fee when the hotel receives consideration from a fund or other third party.
Does the fee apply if the customer pays for but never stays in the hotel room?
When the agreement between the customer and the hotel provides that the room will not be released or offered to other occupants even if the customer never occupies the room, the innkeeper must collect the state hotel-motel fee for every night the customer has reserved and paid for the room, regardless of whether the customer actually stays in the room.
Does the fee apply to extended stays?
The fee applies to the first 30 consecutive days of a hotel room rental. After the 30th consecutive day, the fee no longer applies to the hotel room rental so long as the customer continuously occupies the room. If the customer checks out of the hotel and checks in again, the customer’s continuous occupancy has been broken and the day-count to establish an extended stay begins anew.
If a hotel customer changes rooms in the same hotel, is the customer’s period of consecutive occupancy interrupted?
No. For example, if a hotel customer stays in a hotel room for 15 days then moves to another room within the same hotel, the rental will become an extended stay rental on the 16th day in the new room (the 31st day in the hotel). Thus, starting on the 16th day in the new room, the fee will no longer apply to the room so long as the customer maintains continuous occupancy.
If a hotel customer moves to a different hotel run by the same hotel operator, is the customer’s period of consecutive occupancy interrupted?
Yes. The customer must stay in the same hotel for 31 consecutive days in order to become an extended stay occupant.
Will the fee be refunded once the customer becomes an extended stay occupant?
No. The fee applies to the first 30 consecutive days of the customer’s hotel stay and will not be refunded.
Is the fee subject to sales tax?
The fee is not subject to sales tax when the fee is separately stated on the customer’s invoice.
Who is exempt from the state hotel-motel fee?
The federal government is exempt if the customer pays for the room with a check drawn on a federal government account, by a credit card centrally billed to the federal government, or by a federal government purchase order. Sellers must retain a copy of the payment method in order to show on audit that the sale was exempt.
In addition, foreign missions, their members, and dependents and Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices (TECOs), their employees and dependents are exempt from the fee to the same extent they are exempt from sales and use tax. Sellers must maintain a front and back copy of the tax exemption card to support an exempt sale.
Does the fee apply to rooms rented by state and local governments?
Do sales tax exemptions apply to the state hotel-motel fee?
Do exemptions from the local hotel excise tax apply to the state hotel-motel fee?
Does the fee apply to student housing?
A facility providing housing to students pursuant to a contract with a school is not subject to the fee, so long as the facility does not provide housekeeping, linen, or other customary hotel services.
Are third party travel reservation companies required to collect the fee?
If a third party has contracted with a hotel to collect taxes and/or fees from hotel customers, the Department may assess and collect state hotel-motel fees from either the hotel or the third party.
How do innkeepers report and remit the fee?
Sellers must report and remit the fee electronically on the State Hotel-Motel Fee Return. The fee must be reported electronically regardless of whether the seller files paper sales tax returns. Only one return and one state hotel-motel fee number are required even if the seller has multiple locations.
In order to file a return, a seller must first register on the Georgia Tax Center website for a sales tax number (if it has not already done so) and a state hotel-motel fee number. Please refer to State Hotel-Motel Fee Account registration instructions for guidance.
When do innkeepers report and remit the fee?
Innkeepers must report and remit the fee no later than the 20th day of the month following the month of collection. Innkeepers must file a return each month even when no hotel rooms were provided. The fee must be reported and remitted monthly even if the innkeeper reports and remits sales and use tax on a quarterly or annual basis.
Are innkeepers allowed vendor’s compensation?
Yes. If the innkeeper timely files the return and remits the fee, then the innkeeper may deduct 3 percent of the first $3,000.00 of the combined total amount reported due on the return for each location and one-half of 1 percent of that portion exceeding $3,000.00 of the combined total amount reported due on the return for each location.
Will penalties apply to delinquent fees?
Yes. For failure to file a return or failure to pay the amount of the fee due in full, a penalty of $5 or 5%, whichever is greater, is added to the fee for each month the failure to file or pay continues, not to exceed $25 or 25%, whichever is greater. Please see Rule 560-13-2-.01 for further guidance.
Will interest apply to delinquent fees?
Yes. The state hotel-motel fee bears interest at the rate and in the manner set forth in O.C.G.A. § 48-2-40.
How can I learn more about the fee?
For more guidance, including specific examples of how the fee applies to hotel room rentals, please refer to Rule 560-13-2-.01.