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Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut offer lodging tax relief

  • Apr 7, 2020 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Tallahassee, Florida, state capitol building

Florida, North Carolina, and Connecticut have joined other states offering relief for short-term rental owners who are required to collect and pay state lodging taxes.

These measures apply only to state-level lodging taxes. For lodging tax relief on the local level, check with your local tax authority.

Florida extends April filing deadline for sales tax, tourist development tax

Florida has extended the filing and payment due date to April 30, 2020, for sales taxes collected in March by businesses that have been adversely affected by COVID-19. This also applies to tourist development taxes in counties that are administered by the state Department of Revenue. Businesses that are not adversely affected must file sales and tourist development taxes by April 20.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has ordered all vacation rentals in the state to close until at least April 10. During that time, short-term rental hosts are prohibited from making new bookings or accepting new guests for check-in.

Rentals to guests already staying in a vacation rental as of March 28 are exempt from the order, as are rentals to guests working as part of a military, emergency, government, health, or infrastructure response. Travelers engaged in non-vacation commercial activities are also exempt. According to the governor’s order, violators will lose their rental licenses and can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.

For more on lodging tax requirements in Florida, see our state Vacation Rental Tax Guide.

North Carolina waives sales tax penalties

In North Carolina, the Department of Revenue will waive penalties for sales taxpayers who fail to obtain a license, file a return, or pay sales taxes due March 15 through July 15, 2020. These actions must be completed before July 15, 2020, in order to qualify for the waiver.

Taxpayers don't need to request a penalty waiver to qualify for this relief. Those who receive a proposed assessment of a penalty covered by this relief should contact the North Carolina Department of Revenue by phone at 1-877-252-3052.

The Department of Revenue is required to charge interest on any unpaid tax, accruing from the original due date, until the tax is paid. The interest rate is currently 5% per year.

While there is no statewide suspension of short-term rentals in North Carolina, rentals have been closed in individual communities, especially along the coast in the southeastern part of the state. Other areas have also taken measures to limit short-term rental operations, including Alleghany County (guests providing essential services exempt) and Polk County (advisory only).

For more on lodging tax requirements in North Carolina, see our state Vacation Rental Tax Guide.

Connecticut extends filing deadline for room occupancy tax

Connecticut has extended the due date for room occupancy tax returns and payments for taxpayers who have $150,000 or less in annual sales tax liability. For these taxpayers, monthly returns and payments previously due March 31 and April 30 are now due May 31, 2020. Quarterly room occupancy tax returns and payments previously due April 30 are now due May 31, 2020. Penalties and interest will be waived for taxpayers who file and pay by the extended deadlines.

Governor Ned Lamont has issued an executive order that prohibits short-term rentals and hotels from renting to guests for leisure or vacation. Short-term lodgings are reserved for essential workers only, including health care workers, first responders, and workers transporting critical materials to hospitals. Other exemptions include:

  • Vulnerable populations, including those who are homeless
  • Connecticut residents who need a place to self-quarantine  
  • People receiving long-term care or specialized medical treatment
  • Connecticut residents in need of housing as a result of property damage
  • People unable to return home because of constraints on travel

The order went into effect April 3 and will remain until the state emergency order is lifted. Guests who were staying in short-term rentals as of April 2 may stay through the end of their reservation.

For more on lodging tax requirements in Connecticut, see our state Vacation Rental Tax Guide.

Get the latest tax relief information

For updated information on other local and federal responses to the pandemic that may affect short-term rental hosts, including income tax and property tax relief, see our COVID-19 tax relief roundup.

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.