Spending on travel or tourism in South Carolina totaled $18.5 billion in 2020, the latest year for the state's annual tourism report, according to the state
Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.
The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) wants those who provide tourists and travelers rooms for rent in the state to know about the state Accommodations Tax, a 2% tax added to a 5% Sales Tax and any applicable local tax. And beginning October 1, 2022, Accommodations Tax account holders will be required to file returns and make payments electronically.
Accommodations Tax proceeds are distributed back to cities and counties and are to be used for tourism advertising, promotion, and tourism-related expenditures. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, the amount collected in Accommodations Taxes topped $75 million, led by Horry County ($22.2 million), Charleston County ($18.5 million), and Beaufort County ($14.2 million). Accommodations Taxes are paid in all 46 counties.
Retail License requirements:
- Beginning October 1, 2022, the SCDOR will no longer accept paper Accommodations Tax forms or payments.
- You will be required to file returns and make payments electronically after October 1. A notice of the electronic mandate was sent in July to Accommodations Tax account holders.
- Accommodations Tax returns are due by the 20th of the month following the end of the taxpayer's filing period.
- The SCDOR recommends you file returns and make payments using MyDORWAY, our free online tax portal, available at
If you've never created a MyDORWAY account, visit dor.sc.gov/MyDORWAY-signup.
Who does not have to pay Accommodations Tax:
- You must have a Retail License to file and pay Accommodations Tax if you rent out rooms or spaces in your own home, or at hotels, campgrounds, boarding houses, or mobile home parks.
A Retail License is not required if you rent a room or space for no more than one week each calendar quarter — but you are required to file returns and pay Accommodations Tax annually.
- Those who rent a room in the house in which they live if the house has fewer than six bedrooms, provided the owner does not use a rental agency or online travel company to rent rooms.
- Those who rent to the same person for more than 90 continuous days.
Those who provide accommodations billed directly to and paid by the federal government, the American Red Cross, federal credit unions, or charitable children's hospitals.
Stay informedFor more information, visit the SCDOR's website at dor.sc.gov/tax/accommodations. Connect with the SCDOR on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to ReveNews to stay up-to-date with the latest news, tax tips, and available resources.
- The 2% portion of the Accommodations Tax is distributed back to cities and counties using a formula based on point of sale, according to
the Municipal Association of South Carolina.
- A municipality receiving more than $50,000 in Accommodations Tax revenue must appoint an advisory committee to recommend to the municipality's Council how the money is spent. The Council can then accept, reject, or modify the recommendations.
- The first $25,000 of the Accommodations Tax distribution is deposited into the local governments' general funds. Of the balance, 30% must be allocated to a special fund for the exclusive use of tourism advertising and promotion, and the remaining balance must be used for tourism-related expenditures.
Local governments can charge up to an additional 3% in Accommodations Tax. The proceeds must be used for tourism-related projects and programs as defined in SC Code Section 6-1-530. The SCDOR does not administer the additional taxes.