Since York County began collecting its hospitality tax in 2007, a challenge has been making sure the correct restaurants are paying the right amount. The county is close.
“We think we’re finally, maybe, where we need to be,” said Beth Latham, county treasurer and finance director.
At issue is how restaurants in unincorporated areas are notified of the two-cent tax they must charge. There’s constant turnover, the biggest of late being the $40,000 per year from food at Knights Stadium lost when the Charlotte Knights moved out of Fort Mill. The county also had no easy way to identify new restaurants.
“We can be more current with getting our restaurants on board,” Latham told the hospitality tax advisory committee at its Tuesday meeting.
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The county is partnering with the state health department to identify restaurants that open or close, with the county planning and finance departments coordinating. The finance department is getting a better handle on the 178 establishments paying the tax, and how much each should pay. By Christmas, the county should require state revenue department statements from restaurants to verify amounts.
The county already has a tight handle on how much has been collected and where it has gone. Since 2007, the county brought in $12.16 million. The county approved spending $7.98 million of that total so far.
In District 1, where more than $6 million or 49.9 percent of tax money has been collected, 1.4 percent or almost $110,000 has been spent on five projects, compared to District 5 where 2.2 percent or $273,000 has been collected and 11.8 percent or $943,000 has been spent on 10 projects. In District 2, which includes Lake Wylie and Clover, the second largest percentage has been collected at 22.9 percent or almost $2.8 million. Between projects there, $448,000 or 5.6 percent has been spent with the majority of about $300,000 going to the town of Clover park and just over $120,000 to Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.
For more details to see the hospitality tax by the numbers, go to lakewyliepilot.com.