Sullivan County Commissioners voted to levy a county hotel/motel tax on May 15, 2023 pursuant to T.C.A §67-4-1401 et seq. This office has been charged with the duty of collecting those taxes. The effective date of this levy is July 1, 2023 for all jurisdictions.
Under this statute, operators of any/all accommodations as described in the statute (see attached for definition) shall collect the county hotel/motel tax on the “consideration” (see attached for definition) charged, retain 2% of the total, and submit the remaining 98% of collections to the Sullivan County Clerk no later than the 20th day of each month for the preceding month.
As stated in T.C.A. §67-4-1405: “The operator is required to collect the tax from the transient at the time of the presentation of the invoice for occupancy as may be the custom of the operator, and if credit is granted by the operator to the transient, then the obligation to the municipality entitled to such tax shall be that of the operator.”
Those establishments who are required by state law to submit short-term rental unit marketplace collections directly to the Tennessee Department of Revenue shall be required to continue to do so, including the taxes collected by virtue of the new county hotel/motel tax levy.
The tax rates charged by Sullivan County per jurisdiction are as follows:
- Non-incorporated portions of the county – 4%
- Portions of Johnson City within the county – 1%
- City of Bluff City – 4%
- City of Bristol – 3%
- City of Kingsport – 1%
Please note: These taxes are imposed in addition to any existing hotel/motel taxes charged by any other jurisdiction. Enclosed please find a monthly tax return form to be used when remitting payment to this office. This form will be placed on our website www.sullivancountyclerktn.com for future use. Please be aware, penalty and interest will be charged to your account for submissions postdated or otherwise submitted to this office after the 20th of each month.
Also, please be aware that if your annual gross income is $3000.00-$100,000.00, you must have a business license in order to operate your business. In addition, if you are located within city limits, you must have a county business license as well as a city business license.
Please call our office if you need to obtain a business license application or you may apply on our website. Cost of county business license is $15.00 and renewal each year is $15.00, if you stay under the $100,000.00 threshold. If your gross income exceeds $100,000.00, you must file with the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
67-4-1401. Part definitions.
As used in this part, unless the context otherwise requires:
- “Consideration” means the consideration charged, whether or not received, for the occupancy in a hotel valued in money, whether to be received in money, goods, labor or otherwise, including all receipts, cash, credits, property and services of any kind or nature without any deduction therefrom whatsoever. Nothing in this definition shall be construed to imply that consideration is charged when the space provided to the person is complimentary from the operator and no consideration is charged to or received from any person;
- “Hotel” means any structure or space, or any portion thereof, that is occupied or intended or designed for occupancy by transients for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes, and includes any hotel, inn, tourist camp, tourist court, tourist cabin, motel or any place in which rooms, lodgings or accommodations are furnished to transients for consideration;
- “Occupancy” means the use or possession, or the right to the use or possession, of any room, lodgings or accommodations in any hotel;
- “Operator” means the person operating the hotel, whether as owner, lessee or otherwise;
- “Person” means any individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, social club, fraternal organization, joint stock company, corporation, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, trustee, syndicate or any other group or combination acting as a unit; and
- “Transient” means any person who exercises occupancy or is entitled to occupancy of any rooms, lodgings or accommodations in a hotel for a period of less than thirty (30) continuous days.
If you have any questions or need assistance completing the return, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 423-323-6436 or 423-323-5230.