As vacation season came to a close in August 2017, Mother Nature punctuated the end of summer with a disaster, called Hurricane Harvey. Streets and many homes where flooded and uninhabitable, driving people from their homes. Thus, Governor Abbott extended the state and local hotel occupancy tax exemption for hotel guests affected Harvey’s torrential flooding through September 22nd, and suspended state and local hotel occupancy taxes for documented relief workers affected too. The suspension window is effective August 23, 2017, and ending September 22, 2017.
You may ask what this means. It means that guests staying in hotels, due to the hurricane’s damage, will not be charged the statewide six (6) percent state hotel occupancy tax and the 6 to 8% local hotel occupancy taxes. The same goes for personnel participating in Hurricane Harvey’s relief operations. Here’s the simple occupancy tax exemption procedure:
1. Hotels will ask each hotel guest at check-in or at check-out if they are staying at the hotel because Hurricane Harvey, or if the guest is a relief
- If he or she is, the hotel will provide the guest a hotel tax exemption certificateto fill out. Subsequently, the hotel should not apply local or state hotel occupancy taxes to that guest’s room charges for the declared hotel tax exemption period.
- The guest should write his or her name on the form’s top where it asked “name of exempt entity.”
- Check the box for “Exempt by Other Federal or State Law,” and write in: “Hurricane Harvey” at the bottom of the form. If the guest is a relief worker, they should instead indicate “Relief Worker” with a signed statement from his or her agency.
It’s not necessary for the hotel itself to be located in a disaster-affected county for the tax exemption to apply. Most hotels have the form on line. access the certificate here
State and local hotel tax charges refunds should be provided to the guest upon checkout if the hotel’s electronic billing system does not allow the taxes are not automatically suspended.
Hotel occupancy tax exemptions pertaining to online travel companies
If guests feel entitlement to a state hotel tax refund or exemption for transactions conducted through an online travel company, they contact the online travel company directly first. This information is consistent with the Texas Comptroller’s advice found in their FAQ page here.
Remember to take advantage of this tax exemption by September 22. The Lone Star state is giving residents some comfort from being temporarily displaced from home sweet home.
Bye for now,
State Tax Group, LLC is a state and local tax advisory and consulting services firm, specializing in sales and use tax consulting, audit representation, tax compliance, and more in the DFW area. For more information on how we can make state taxes smooth sailing for you, call us toll-free at 800.952.8996; or visit www.statetaxgroup.com.