Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions & Information about the Hospitality Tax
Q: What is the Hospitality Tax, and why is it necessary?
A: The Hospitality Tax is imposed on the purchase of prepared or modified food and/or beverages intended for immediate consumption. The tax was created by ordinance of Richland County Council to provide a dedicated source of revenue and an appropriate and efficient means of funding new and renovated tourist-related buildings, cultural, recreational, and historic facilities, highways, roads, streets, and bridges providing access to tourist destinations, advertisements, and promotions related to tourism development, and water and sewer infrastructure to serve tourism-related demand throughout Richland County.
Q: Who is responsible for collecting and remitting the Hospitality Tax?
A: The business establishment is responsible for collecting this tax from patrons, and is required to remit such collections to Richland County.
Q: How should the tax be remitted?
A: Taxes must be remitted to the Richland County Treasurer’s Office the 20th of each month for the prior month’s total collections. Each remittance must include a completed Hospitality Voucher Form, and a copy of the S.C. Sales Tax Computation Form. Businesses collecting taxes from multiple locations should complete a reporting form for each location.
Q: What if my fee payment is late?
A: Remittances are considered delinquent if postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service after the 20th of the month due. If the due date of the return falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a U.S. Postal Office holiday, the return is considered timely filed if it has a postmark by the U.S. Postal Service on (or before) the day immediately following that Sunday or U.S. Post Office holiday. A penalty payment of five percent (5%) will be due for each month, or portion thereof, on all taxes not received by the due date.
Q: What is the penalty for violation of this ordinance?
A: The penalty shall be 5% per month, charged on the original amount of taxes due.
Q: What records to I need to keep?
A: You should retain sales records and other documentation that will adequately support all sales subject to Hospitality Taxes and reported to the County on the Hospitality Tax vouchers. Such records are subject to audit by the County and should be retained for a minimum of three years.
Q: What are "prepared meals and beverages"?
A: Prepared meals and beverages are products sold ready for consumption either on or off premises in businesses classified as eating and drinking places under the Standard Industrial Code Classification Manual, and including lunch counters and restaurant stands; drinking places operated as a subordinate service facility by other establishments; bars and restaurants owned by and operated for members of civic, social, and fraternal associations.
Restaurants, Bars, and Other Food Service Facilities
Q: What sales by restaurants, bars, and other food service establishments are subject to the Hospitality Tax?
A: All sales of food and beverages served by a restaurant, hotel, motel, club, lounge, bar, or other ABC licensed establishment, or other food service facilities are subject to the Hospitality Tax.
Convenience Stores and Grocery Stores
Q: What sales by convenience stores are subject to the Hospitality Tax?
A: All sales of food and beverage items that are prepared or modified by the establishment for immediate consumption are subject to the Hospitality Tax. Generally, sales of all deli and bakery department items by a grocery store would be subject to the tax.