Hotel Occupancy FAQ
The primary source of funding for the Mercer County CVB is the West Virginia hotel occupancy tax, WV CODE 7-18, which was passed in 1985. The CVB receives half of the six percent occupany tax, which is used to continue marketing and advertising Mercer County. The occupancy tax is in addition to the state and local taxes and is based on gross room sales. The tax is placed on the visitor and collected at the point of sale. Here are some frequently asked questions about the hotel occupancy tax.
Are you paying occupancy tax on your rental accomodations?
If you rent out your home or vacation property, the State of West Virginia and Mercer County law requires you to collect occupancy tax from your guests. If a property owner rents out an accomodation for 10 days or more, they are required to pay the occupany tax. AirBNB and other third-place marketplace facilitators can collect and remit taxes on your behalf. However, you must verify that with the county and city.
How does collection and remittance work in Mercer County?
If a property is located outside of the city limits of Princeton, Bluefield, Bramwell or Athens, they remit their occupancy tax to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office. Properties in the city limits of Bluefield, Princeton, Bramwell and Athens will remit to their respective municipaltities’ financial office. To fill out a form for the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, click here.
When is occupancy tax due?
The occupancy tax is due on or before the 15th day of the calendar month for the preview month. Failure to collect the tax to the proper authority, the operator shall be personally liable for such amount as he or she failed to collect or remit, according to code 7-18-7. Further, Code 7-18-12, states that a fine or penalties can be imposed by a municipal ordinance or by order of the county commission.
Do campgrounds or RV sites pay occupancy tax?
No. “A tent, trailer or camper campsite” does not meet the definition of a hotel, as stated in Code 7-18-3.
Why is occupancy tax important to collect?
The tax paid by visitors helps fund advertising and promotion of Mercer County to potential travelers. With the collection of occupancy taxes, we are able to position the county as a premier tourist destination and bring you more business. The tax is not paid by accommodations, as they are simply a pass-through for the visitor remitting the tax. The other three percent is given to the county or city, for tourism-based projects, which are listed in code 7-18-14.
What if someone stays longer than 30 days?
The 30-day exemption was removed from WV state code in 2016. No matter how long a guest stays at a hotel, they still are required to pay occupancy tax. Short-term or long-term rentals do not pay occupancy tax.
Who do I contact with questions?
Jamie Null, Mercer County CVB Director
621 Commerce Street
Bluefield, WV 24701