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R.I. Department of Revenue releases May 2017 state hotel tax report

Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue today released its FY 2017 State 5.0 Percent Hotel Tax Collections Report for May 2017. The State 5.0 Percent Hotel Tax Allocation Report, which is issued on a monthly basis, compares the collections from the state's 5.0 percent hotel tax on a year-over-year, and fiscal year-to-date over fiscal year-to-date basis. The state 5.0 percent hotel tax is collected on the rental of rooms in the state and distributed based on the formula contained in Rhode Island General Law Chapter 44-63.1 entitled "Tourism and Development."

Expansion of the State 5.0 Percent Hotel Tax Base The May 2017 report includes the state 5.0 percent hotel tax collections generated by the rental of lodging via hosting platforms and by on-line travel companies (room resellers). The state 5.0 percent hotel tax collections from these rentals covers July through September 2016 and April through May 2017 on a monthly basis and October 2016 through January 2017 and February through March 2017 on a cumulative basis for all municipalities except the City of Newport which failed to provide the data requested by the Office of Revenue Analysis for the July 2016 through September 2016 period. It should be noted the City of Newport did provide data on the state 5.0 percent hotel tax derived from hosting platforms and room resellers for July 2015 through May 2016 and the months of October 2016 through May 2017 while the Division of Taxation was able to provide data on an aggregated basis, rather than a monthly basis, for the months of July through December 2015.

Changes in the Distribution of the State 5.0 Percent Hotel Tax Revenues Rhode Island General Law 42-63.1-3(b) titled "Tourism and Development Distribution of tax" provides that for state hotel tax returns and payments received after December 31, 2015 the distribution of state hotel tax revenues would follow the new formula enacted into law by the General Assembly in the 2015 session. The state hotel tax revenue from December 2015 through May 2016 hotel room rental activity was received after January 1, 2016 and thus the new formula applies to the FY 2016 December through May revenue collections contained in this report.

In the 2016 Session, the General Assembly changed the state 5.0 percent hotel tax distribution formula to revert back to the formula that was in place prior to January 1, 2016 for returns and payments received after June 30, 2016. The state hotel tax revenue from July and August 2016 hotel room rental activity was received after June 30, 2016 and thus the new "old" distribution formula applies to the FY 2016 June and FY 2017 July and August revenue collections contained in this report.

In general, the formula for the distribution of state hotel tax revenues to the various recipients for returns and payments received is as follows: Regional tourism districts: Prior to January 1, 2016, 47 percent; After December 31, 2015 and prior to July 1, 2016, 42 percent; After June 30, 2016, 47 percent; The Convention Authority of Providence and the Warwick Department of Economic Development shares from hotels located in each respective city, except the Omni Providence Hotel: Prior to January 1, 2016, 31 percent; After December 31, 2015 and prior to July 1, 2016, 28 percent; After June 30, 2016, 31 percent; The Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau's share from hotels located outside of Providence and Warwick: Prior to January 1, 2016, seven percent; After December 31, 2015 and prior to July 1, 2016, five percent; After June 30, 2016, seven percent; The Rhode Island Convention Center Authority's share from the Omni Providence Hotel: Prior to January 1, 2016, 30 percent; After December 31, 2015, zero percent; The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation's share from hotels located outside of Providence and Warwick: Prior to January 1, 2016, 21 percent; After December 31, 2015 and prior to July 1, 2016, 28 percent; After June 30, 2016, 21 percent; The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation's share from hotels located in Providence and Warwick, except the Omni Providence Hotel: Prior to January 1, 2016, 21 percent; After December 31, 2015 and prior to July 1, 2016, 24 percent; After June 30, 2016, 21 percent; and The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation's share from the Omni Providence Hotel: Prior to January 1, 2016, 27 percent; After December 31, 2015, 60 percent.

Results of the May 2017 Report The findings of the May 2017 State 5.0 Percent Hotel Tax Collections Report on a year-over-year basis are: Year-over-year growth in state hotel tax receipts was 12.0 percent, a complete reversal from the 9.3 percent year-over-year growth rate reported in April 2017; o May 2017 state hotel tax collections include $47,871 of receipts from room rentals via hosting platforms and on-line travel companies distributed in July 2017 compared to $16,519 in May 2016; Only four regional tourism districts received more in state 5.0 percent hotel tax collections in May 2017 than in May 2016 in spite of the fact that the share of state 5.0 percent hotel tax revenue increased to 47 percent in May 2017 from 42 percent in May 2016; o The regional tourism districts received $8,722 in revenues from the expansion of the state hotel tax base to room resellers and hosting platforms in May 2017 versus $6,938 in May 2016; Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (RICC) received $185,868 less year-over-year in state hotel tax revenue than it received in May 2016 as its share of the state 5.0 hotel tax shrank from 28 percent in May 2016 to 21 percent in May 2017; o RICC collected $24,129 in May 2017 in state hotel taxes from the assessment of the state 5.0 percent hotel tax on room rentals via hosting platforms and by room resellers compared to $4,625 in May 2016.

* May 2017 total state hotel tax collections include $47,871 in revenues from the expansion of the state hotel tax base broken down as follows: regional tourism districts, $8,722; municipalities, $11,967; Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, $24,129; and Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, $3,053. May 2016 total state hotel tax collections include $16,519 in revenues from the expansion of the state hotel tax base broken down as follows: regional tourism districts, $6,938; municipalities, $4,130; Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, $4,625; and Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, $826.

The findings of the May 2017 State 5.0 Percent Hotel Tax Collections Report on a fiscal year-to-date over fiscal year-to-date basis are: Fiscal year-to-date over fiscal year-to-date growth in state hotel tax receipts was 1.0 percent, above the 2.8 percent growth recorded in the April 2017 report; o Fiscal year-to-date through May 2017 state hotel tax collections include $366,127 of receipts from room rentals via hosting platforms and on-line travel companies vs. $208,870 in fiscal year-to-date through May 2016; All tourism districts, other than Northern Rhode Island received more state 5.0 percent hotel tax collections in FY 2017 through May than in FY 2016 through May; o The regional tourism districts received $93,349 in increased revenues from the expansion of the state hotel tax base to room resellers and hosting platforms in FY 2017 through May versus $86,941 for the same period last year; Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (RICC) received $84,354 less in FY 2017 through May than it received for the same period in FY 2016; o RICC collected $146,650 in state hotel taxes from the assessment of the state 5.0 percent hotel tax on room rentals via hosting platforms and by room resellers in FY 2017 through May compared to $47,686 in FY 2016 through May.

* FY 2017 YTD total state hotel tax collections include $366,127 in revenues from the expansion of the state hotel tax base broken down as follows: regional tourism districts, $93,349; municipalities, $91,548; Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, $146,650; and Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, $34,579. FY 2016 YTD total state hotel tax collections include $208,870 in revenues from the expansion of the state hotel tax base broken down as follows: regional tourism districts, $86,941; municipalities, $52,217; Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, $47,686; and Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, $22,025.

The entire report can be found on the Department of Revenue's web site at http://www.dor.ri.gov/revenue-analysis/2017.php under the State Reports tab. The full report includes the break down by regional tourism district and municipality of state hotel tax collection distributions on a year-over-year and fiscal year-to-date over fiscal year-to-date basis.

Questions or comments on the report should be directed to Paul Grimaldi, Chief of Information and Public Relations by e-mail at paul.grimaldi@revenue.ri.gov or by phone at (401) 574-8766.

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