May 8, 2012

Maragos:  Hotel/Motel Tax Collection Needs Improvement

County is owed over $745,000 in fines and uncollected taxes from two Hotels

Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released his audit of Nassau County’s Hotel and Motel Occupancy Tax Collections and found that two hotels owe the County over $745,000 in fines and uncollected taxes from 2009-2010. The Treasurer’s Office has now referred the unpaid hotel and motel occupancy taxes by these two hotels to the County’s collection agency. The audit also found that all other hotels and motels are paying their taxes in a timely manner.

"It is commendable that the majority of our hotels and motels are voluntarily paying their taxes,” Comptroller Maragos said. “The integrity of the system, however, is tested when there isn’t effective enforcement. I am glad the Treasurer’s Office has accepted our recommendations and will immediately go after these delinquent hotels to collect unpaid taxes and institute stronger oversight and collection procedures going forward.”

In 2010, 56 Nassau County hotels and motels paid approximately $4 million to Nassau County in Hotel and Motel Occupancy Taxes. The use of this money is allocated to promote tourism and conventions, to assist in the operation of non-profit museums and cultural organizations, and for the general obligations of Nassau County.

The audit made the following two key recommendations to the Treasurer’s Office to ensure that the County collects ALL hotel and motel taxes in a timely manner:

  • Immediately develop written procedures covering the collection process for delinquent or non-paying hotels and motels; and
  • Track hotel/motel tax payments, send automatic notifications for late payments, and refer to collections the hotels that are delinquent by more than two quarters. Additionally, consider adopting a measure similar to Ulster County by requiring late payers to file a bond, to secure the payment of any occupancy taxes.

"We are pleased that the Treasurer has acted promptly to collect unpaid hotel and motel taxes and to put procedures in place for better oversight of delinquent taxpayers,” Comptroller Maragos added. “Making sure all departments are efficiently collecting revenues must continue to be a top priority. In order to alleviate further financial burdens on our property owners”

PDF File Limited Review of Nassau County's Hotel and Motel Occupancy Tax Collection