Pursuant to Chapter 351 of the Texas Tax Code, the City of Houston imposes a seven percent (7%) Hotel Occupancy Tax. Effective July 1, 2011, the City of Houston has authorized Houston First Corporation, a local government corporation, to act as its agent for the collection of the municipal Hotel Occupancy Tax.
To make the collection and remittance process more convenient for hoteliers, frequently asked questions are answered below, and an interactive PDF report form is now available.
The tax must be reported and remitted by any individual or entity owning, operating, managing, or controlling a hotel within the corporate limits of the City of Houston. The term "hotel" includes motels, tourist homes, tourist courts, lodging houses, boarding houses, inns, rooming houses, or other buildings where rooms are provided for consideration of two dollars or more per day.
Reports and payments are due quarterly and must be received or postmarked by the last day of the month following the appropriate quarter:
- 1st Quarter (Jan.–Mar.) due by April 30th
- 2nd Quarter (Apr.–Jun.) due by July 31st
- 3rd Quarter (Jul.–Sep.) due by October 31st
- 4th Quarter (Oct.–Dec.) due by January 31st
A report must be filed for every quarter, even if there is no tax due.
Failure to file a report or pay the amount of tax owed when due will result in an assessment of interest at the rate of 10% per annum and, for amounts due at least one municipal fiscal quarter, a 15% penalty. If a lawsuit is filed to collect unpaid taxes, a temporary injunction may be granted to prevent the hotel from being operated until the amount owed is paid in full.
Payment may be made by check, money order or cashier's check. All payments must be made payable to the City of Houston and mailed to the following address:
Houston First Corporation
Hotel Occupancy Taxes
P.O. Box 204022
Houston, TX 77216-4022
Although the post office box listed above is the preferred address, reports and payments may be sent to Houston First Corporation, Attn: Gloria Salinas-Villarreal, 1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston, TX 77010.
The City of Houston recognizes that certain hotel guests are exempt from the municipal hotel occupancy tax, including the following:
- Federal government employees travelling on official business, if the guest completes a tax-exemption certificate;
- Foreign diplomats, if the guest completes a tax-exemption certificate and presents a tax exempt card issued by the U.S. Department of State;
- Permanent Residents, meaning guests who notify the hotel in writing of their intent to stay thirty (30) or more consecutive days are exempt from hotel occupancy taxes from the beginning of their stay, provided there is no interruption in payment for the room.
- State of Texas employees who have been issued a special identification card stating that the holder is exempt from hotel occupancy tax, if the guest completes a tax-exemption certificate.
Be advised that the City of Houston does not recognize State of Texas exemptions for educational, religious, or charitable organizations.
Individuals and entities required to report and remit the tax must maintain the following records in a written or electronic format for at least four (4) years from the date of the transaction:
- For each room rental, the check-in/check-out dates, the amount paid (including the state and local hotel occupancy taxes collected), and the method of payment;
- Supporting documentation and certificates of exemption for guests who are exempt from the tax;
- Banking records that identify all room rental revenue collected; and
- Credit card records reflecting payments of room rentals.
For room rentals paid by cash, every person required to collect the tax must issue a customer an electronic or handwritten receipt that provides the date and time of the rental transaction, the room number, and the charges for room rental.
For handwritten receipts, every person required to collect the tax must issue the receipts in sequential, numeric order; retain a duplicate copy of the receipts; and mark spoiled receipts as void and retain such receipts as evidence of spoilage.
Questions regarding the collection and reporting of the City of Houston Hotel Occupancy Tax should be directed to Gloria Salinas-Villarreal, Accounting Manager, at 713-853-8206.
For more information on exemptions and recordkeeping requirements, please contact Susan Tucker, Chief Auditor, at 713-853-8042.
Harris County Tax Office
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Texas Tax Code, Chapter 351