GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE LEE COUNTY TO LEVY A ROOM OCCUPANCY TAX.
The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
Section 1. Occupancy tax. (a) Authorization and scope. The Lee County Board of Commissioners may by resolution, after not less than 10 days' public notice and after a public hearing held pursuant thereto, levy a room occupancy tax of up to three percent (3%) of the gross receipts derived from the rental of any room, lodging, or similar accommodation furnished by a hotel, motel, inn, or similar place within the county that is subject to sales tax imposed by the State under G.S. 105-164.4(3). This tax is in addition to any State or local sales tax. This tax does not apply to accommodations furnished by nonprofit charitable, educational, or religious organizations and to any rental unit rented to the same person for seven or more consecutive days.
(b) Collection. Every operator of a business subject to the tax levied under this section shall, on and after the effective date of the levy of the tax, collect the tax. This tax shall be collected as part of the charge for furnishing a taxable accommodation. The tax shall be stated and charged separately from the sales records, and shall be paid by the purchaser to the operator of the business as trustee for and on account of the county. The tax shall be added to the sales price and shall be passed on to the purchaser instead of being borne by the operator of the business. The county shall design, print, and furnish to all appropriate businesses and persons in the county the necessary forms for filing returns and instructions to ensure the full collection of the tax. An operator of a business who collects the occupancy tax levied under this section may deduct from the amount remitted to the county a discount of three percent (3%) of the amount collected.
(c) Administration. The county shall administer a tax levied under this section. A tax levied under this section is due and payable to the county finance officer in monthly installments on or before the 15th day of the month following the month in which the tax accrues. Every person, firm, corporation, or association liable for the tax shall, on or before the 15th day of each month, prepare and render a return on a form prescribed by the county. The return shall state the total gross receipts derived in the preceding month from rentals upon which the tax is levied.
A return filed with the county finance officer under this section is not a public record as defined by G.S. 132-1 and may not be disclosed except as required by law.
(d) Penalties. A person, firm, corporation, or association who fails or refuses to file the return required by this section shall pay a penalty of ten dollars ($10.00) for each day's omission. In case of failure or refusal to file the return or pay the tax for a period of 30 days after the time required for filing the return or for paying the tax, there shall be an additional tax, as a penalty, of five percent (5%) of the tax due in addition to any other penalty, with an additional tax of five percent (5%) for each additional month or fraction thereof until the tax is paid.
Any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade a tax imposed under this section or who willfully fails to pay the tax or make and file a return shall, in addition to all other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment not to exceed six months, or both. The board of commissioners may, for good cause shown, compromise or forgive the penalties imposed by this subsection.
(e) Use of tax revenue. Lee County shall place the proceeds of a tax levied under this section in a capital reserve fund in accordance with Part 2 of Article 3 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes. The proceeds shall be held in the capital reserve fund until a sufficient amount has accumulated to construct a Community Resource Center for Lee County. The proceeds shall then be used to construct the Community Resource Center. After the Center is completed, Lee County shall spend the proceeds of the tax for maintenance of the Community Resource Center. Any excess over the amount needed for maintenance of the Center may be used by Lee County for any lawful purpose.
(f) Effective date of levy. A tax levied under this section shall become effective on the date specified in the resolution levying the tax. That date must be the first day of a calendar month, however, and may not be earlier than the first day of the second month after the date the resolution is adopted.
(g) Repeal. A tax levied under this section may be repealed by a resolution adopted by the Lee County Board of Commissioners. Repeal of a tax levied under this section shall become effective on the first day of a month and may not become effective until the end of the fiscal year in which the repeal resolution was adopted. Repeal of a tax levied under this section does not affect a liability for a tax that was attached before the effective date of the repeal, nor does it affect a right to a refund of a tax that accrued before the effective date of the repeal.
Sec. 2. This act is effective upon ratification.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 3rd day of July, 1987.