Short term rentals (STRs) or short term vacation rentals are considered “hotels” as defined by ACCGov Code of Ordinances Section 2-3-1…”Hotel: A hotel, motel, inn, lodge, tourist camp, tourist cabin, or any other place in which rooms, lodgings or accommodations are regularly furnished for value.” As such, operators of STRs in Athens-Clarke County are required to collect and pay the 7% local hotel motel excise tax. Payment of this tax may be handled by a third-party lodging facilitator (online lodging platform such as Airbnb or Vrbo) or by the operator if the guest pays the operator directly.
When lodging is booked through an online lodging platform: if the STR is booked and paid for through an online lodging platform, then the online lodging platform is responsible for collecting and paying the 7% hotel motel tax to Athens-Clarke County. (As of July 1, 2021, online lodging platforms are required to collect and pay to counties and cities all hotel/motel taxes due on STRs that are hosted via those platforms. This requirement stems from enactment of House Bill 317 by the Georgia legislature in 2021.)
When lodging is booked directly with the operator: if the STR is booked and paid for directly to the operator (payment doesn’t go through an online lodging platform), then the operator is responsible for collecting and paying the 7% hotel motel tax to Athens-Clarke County (see below for how to pay).
Hotel Motel Excise Tax Payments: The hotel motel excise tax is due and payable by the 20th day of each month for the prior monthly period. For example, taxes for lodging during September are due by the 20th of October. An online form and manual form for reporting and paying monthly hotel motel taxes can be found at Pay Local Excise Taxes on the Finance webpage.
Business Occupation Tax Certificate: Athens-Clarke County Business Occupation Tax Certificates are required for short term rental operators. This tax application form can be found at Apply for or Renew Business Tax Certificate on the Finance webpage (Note: instructions for completing the Business Occupation Tax Application begin on page 7 of the form.)
See ACCGov Code of Ordinance Chapter 2-3 related to the Hotel Motel Excise tax for more information.