Lodging Business Resources

Room tax audits to begin in 2024

Huntingdon County Treasurer Susan Harry is sending notices to all registered short-term lodging properties in the county that beginning in 2024, the Huntingdon County Auditors will begin randomly selecting properties to audit financial records relating to compliance with Huntingdon County Ordinance 2017-02, which created the 5% hotel occupancy tax within the county. According to the letter, properties "with a history of reporting or documentation irregularities will be given auditing priority"

Below are a few tips to help make sure your property is compliant that should make the auditing process easier if you are selected:

  • Make sure you have a room tax permit. You can apply by filling out the form at this link and either dropping it off or mailing it to the Huntingdon County Treasurer's Office. When received, the treasurer's office will issue a certificate with a permit number to be displayed at your rental property.
  • Third Party booking agents may remit taxes on your behalf, but they are not complying with your legal responsibility to report. Even if your rental/rooms are booked and taxes are paid through a third party booking agent like AirBnB or VRBO, you, as the property owner, still have the ultimate responsibility to file quarterly reports and ensure taxes are paid and records are kept. There is a place on the quarterly report form to show taxes paid on your behalf by a third party agent, as well as the documentation required to verify the payments.
  • Keep revenue records, exemption certificates and occupancy information for at least three years. The auditors may examine up to three years worth of financial records for ordinance compliance. If you cannot provide those records, the law presumes your property operated at 100% occupancy at the highest known rate, and you will be liable for taxes based on that presumption.
  • Customers may be exempt from paying room tax, but properties are not. There is no such thing as a property exempt from reporting short-term rental income and filing quarterly reports. Some customers may be exempt if they are government or military employees on official business, and can provide documentation of those orders. There are several other limited customer exemptions that also require proper documentation.