The Marshall County Council approved the recommendation of County Treasurer Angie Birchmeier and Executive Director of the Marshall County Convention and Tourism office Corie Humes to change the remittance of the Innkeeper’s Tax from the county office to the Indiana Department of Revenue.
In 1991 Marshall County enacted a 3% Innkeeper’s Tax to collect a tax from hotels, motels, cabins and inns in the county. At that time the tax was collected in the County Treasurer’s office. In 2010 the tax was increased to 5%.
Birchmeier said in 2019 state legislation changed so marketplace facilitator such as PriceLine, Airbnb, Expedia and Vrbo are required to remit the Inn Keeper’s Tax directly to the Indiana Department of Revenue. She said anything collected locally is receipted in the County Treasurer’s office for the Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Innkeeper’s tax is proprietary and therefore confidential with only the Treasurer’s Office knowing who has paid what amounts. With the changes in collecting, the treasurer said they are now working on a hybrid system where marketplace facilitators collect and remit directly to IDOR while local hoteliers are collecting and remitting to the local treasurer’s office.
Birchmeier said, “This hybrid system has worked, but not without complications. This past year has been unique, and we have run into issues with a few of our hotelier’s not remitting payment to us in a timely manner or duplicating payments by sending to both IDOR and our office. Each hotelier is required to remit no later than the 20th of each month for the previous month’s collections.”
What is collected locally through the Innkeeper’s Tax is entirely distributed to the local tourism office. Birchmeier said, “The only exception is the penalty should a late payment be made, but that does not come without difficulties.”
The County Treasurer said, “At the County level there is not much in the way of retrieving those penalties without expense to the county itself. IDOR has an automated system that would send notices to any hotelier that does not remit timely whereas we keep track manually. Indiana Code 6-9-29 allows IDOR to prosecute an individual, corporation, etc. should they not pay timely which would make the liability a tax warrant and IDOR would then be able to proceed with a court judgement.”
IDOR’s suggestion is that County file a civil case against the business should they refuse to pay. Birchmeier said, “At the County level there is not much in the way of retrieving those penalties without expense to the county itself.”
The County Council unanimously approved amending the county ordinance to have all Inn Keepers send their tax money to the Indiana Department of Revenue.