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Subject 110-3-3 RULES FOR HOTEL MOTEL TAX REPORTING AND HOTEL MOTEL TAX PERFORMANCE REVIEW BOARD

Rule 110-3-3-.01 Purpose

(1) O.C.G.A. 48-13-56 requires each county or municipality imposing a hotel/motel tax, as a condition of continuing its authorization to impose the tax, to file an annual report with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) specifying the rate of taxation and amounts collected and expended pursuant to the law. It further requires that these reports be filed as specified by rule of DCA.
(2) O.C.G.A. 48-13-56.1 creates a Hotel Motel Tax Performance Review Board to conduct, or cause to be conducted, a thorough and complete investigation of complaints with respect to all actions of a county, municipality, or any other entity regarding its expenditure of funds received from a tax under O.C.G.A. 48-13-56 and such county's, municipality's, or other entity's compliance with state law and regulations. It further specifies that the commissioner of community affairs shall promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the administration of this Code section.
(3) The purpose of this rule is to establish the reporting mechanism required by O.C.G.A. 48-13-56 and to establish rules and regulations for the administration of the Hotel Motel Tax Performance Review Board required by O.C.G.A. 48-13-56.1.

Rule 110-3-3-.02 Hotel/Motel Tax Report

(1) DCA shall develop and/or amend forms as necessary for the submission of the information required under O.C.G.A. 48-13-56. These forms shall be titled the Hotel/Motel Tax Report and will require local governments to report hotel/motel tax receipts, expenditures, and related information as provided in O.C.G.A. 48-13-56 for the most recently completed fiscal year.
(2) All local governments collecting a Hotel/Motel tax must file a copy of the most current enabling resolution or local government ordinance authorizing the collection of a Hotel/Motel Tax with the Department of Community Affairs.

Rule 110-3-3-.03 Report Submittal Rules

(1) The Hotel/Motel Tax Report must be submitted to DCA within 180 days of the local governments' fiscal year end.
(2) The Hotel/Motel Tax Report will be available for downloading on the DCA website or in hardcopy upon request.
(3) Hardcopy reports must be submitted to DCA at the address specified on the Report.
(4) If the option is provided by DCA, the report may be completed and submitted online.

Rule 110-3-3-.04 Penalties for Noncompliance

Failure to submit an annual report within the required time frame will result in the government forfeiting its right to levy a hotel/motel tax until such time as the delinquent report(s) have been submitted.

Rule 110-3-3-.05 Hotel Motel Tax Performance Review Board and Investigation of Complaints

(1) The membership and terms of office of the Hotel Motel Tax Performance Review Board shall be as specified in O.C.G.A. 48-13-56.1.
(2) The Hotel Motel Tax Performance Review Board shall meet annually between September 1 and December 1 to review complaints filed in accordance with paragraph (4) of this Chapter. DCA shall give notice to all interested parties of the meeting place and time.
(3) DCA shall develop and/or amend forms as necessary for the submission of complaints from interested parties.
(4)
(A) Complaints - Minimum Standards.
1. Complaints must be related to inappropriate expenditures of or failure to appropriately expend Hotel Motel Tax receipts collected by a local government in the current or most recently ended fiscal year. A complaint may involve a local government or other entities authorized by the local government to expend Hotel Motel Tax revenues.
2. Complaints based solely on immaterial expenditure timing issues will not be considered bona fide complaints. For the purposes of these Rules, the threshold for expenditure timing materiality shall be the greater of:

25% of restricted revenue earned by the local government subject to the complaint in their most recently ended fiscal period, or

25% of the median restricted revenues earned by all governments imposing one of the 5% Hotel Motel Taxes.

3. Complaints may be submitted by taxpayers, local governments, innkeepers, or private sector nonprofit organizations.
4. Complaints must cite the code section of Georgia law which pertains to the specific Hotel Motel Tax authorization of the government named in the complaint and must provide additional information as specified in the complaint filing forms provided by DCA.
5. Complaints that fail to meet the criteria listed in paragraph (4) (A) of this Chapter may be rejected for failing to meet minimum standards.
6. A nonrefundable filing fee of $100 must be submitted with each complaint filed with DCA. The filing fee may be waived at the sole discretion of the Commissioner of DCA.
(B) Findings of Noncompliance in Audited Financial Statements. Findings of Noncompliance in Audited Financial Statements submitted to the Department of Community Affairs by the Department of Audits and Accounts will be investigated as bona fide complaints provided that they meet the threshold for materiality listed in paragraph (4)(A) of this Chapter.
(5) Complaints must be postmarked or hand delivered no later than June 1 in order to be considered by the Hotel Motel Tax Performance Review Board in the meeting(s) held between September 1 and December 1 and must be submitted to the Department of Community Affairs at the address specified on the complaint form. Complaints submitted via facsimile will not be accepted.
(6) Complaints Processing . - The Department of Community Affairs shall review and investigate all bona fide complaints meeting the minimum criteria specified in Par agraph (4)(A) of this Chapter and issue a preliminary finding to the relevant local government. The local government collecting the Hotel Motel Tax shall be given the opportunity to respond to the preliminary finding within 30 calendar days. Any comments received from the local government shall be included in a report of findings and recommendations submitted to the Hotel Motel Tax Performance Review Board.
(7) The Hotel Motel Tax Performance Review Board shall review all bona fide complaints along with the analysis documents provided by DCA. The Performance Review Board shall issue a written report of its findings, which shall include such evaluations, judgments, and recommendations, as it deems appropriate. The findings of the Performance Review Board shall be submitted to the Commissioner of DCA within 60 calendar days of the final hearing of each complaint. A copy of such findings shall be provided to the local government at the same time.
(8) The Commissioner of DCA shall have 30 calendar days to review the findings of the Hotel Motel Tax Performance Review Board. If the Commissioner determines that remedial action is necessary, the local government shall be issued a notice by certified mail, return receipt requested or statutory overnight delivery. The local government shall be given a period of 90 calendar days from the date of the Commissioner's notice to take the necessary remedial action with respect to such findings and shall notify the Commissioner of such remedial action taken. It shall be the local government's responsibility to negotiate, as necessary, with any other entity involved in the complaint to satisfactorily implement the remedial action requirements. If the Commissioner determines that the local government has substantially met the remedial action requirements but only minor deficiencies remain, the Commissioner may allow up to 30 additional calendar days to correct such minor deficiencies. It shall be the Commissioner's sole discretion as to whether remedial action has been satisfactorily taken. In the event that satisfactory remedial action does not occur within the specified period, the Commissioner of DCA shall immediately notify the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue, who is authorized under O.C.G.A. 48-13-56.1 to take appropriate action to enforce compliance with such remedial action, up to and including termination of the tax.