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No, they are different. Tompkins County collects a 5% hotel room occupancy tax on overnight stays anywhere in Tompkins County, including in the City of Ithaca. The City of Ithaca now also collects a separate 5% tax on overnight stays in the City of Ithaca. County room tax revenues support the tourism marketing and tourism development efforts of the Tompkins County Tourism Program and Ithaca Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau. City room tax supports the new conference center.
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Any individual or business renting out property or rooms to paying guests for overnight stays on a short term basis in the City of Ithaca is required to register with the City, collect the tax from their guests and pay the tax to the City quarterly.
Just fill out this simple one-page registration form and send it to the City Controller’s office via email, mail, or drop-off. The Controller will then provide you with a certificate of authority, which authorizes you to collect the tax on behalf of the City. By law, you must display this certificate of authority on the premises so that your guests can see it. Please note that the certificate is non-assignable and non-transferable and must be surrendered immediately to the Controller upon the cessation of business at the property/hotel named on the certificate or upon its sale or transfer.
Tax is due on the following dates for taxes collected during the following quarterly periods:
All registered properties should submit returns quarterly. If the amount due in a given quarter is $0, please click the link below, fill out the form and e-mail it to Steve Thayer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Occupancy Tax Payment Form for No Tax Collected
The tax must be shown separately on the bill, and is 5% of rents/room charges.
Yes, please fill out returns correctly and submit payment on time. The City also has a number of powers at its disposal to collect unpaid taxes. For additional details, see the room tax law.
Call it either “tax on occupancy of hotel rooms” or “City tax”.
All City room tax revenues will be dedicated to support the Downtown Ithaca Conference Center. The new 50,000+ square foot Downtown Ithaca Conference Center will be located at the current site of the western section of the Green Street Garage in the 100 block of East Green Street and will take up of first three floors of a mixed use building with 181 units of housing above. The Center will include a second floor ballroom of 11,000 square feet, a full banquet kitchen, and a junior ballroom of more than 5,000 square feet and is expected to generate 22,000 new room nights and $8.3 million in new visitor spending annually.
To support the Downtown Ithaca Conference Center project. By law, City room tax revenues can only be spent to support the conference center. Revenues will support debt service payments for conference center construction and any net operating losses.
Other partners are also contributing financially to the project. New York State is providing a $5 million grant through Empire State Development. Tompkins County will contribute 4% of County room tax collections annually over the next 30 years. The Downtown Ithaca Alliance will pay $500,000 over the first ten years of the project. Four downtown hotels (Downton Ithaca Marriott, Hotel Ithaca, Hilton Canopy, and Hilton Garden Inn) will collectively pay $100,000 to support construction, $50,000 annually for the first ten years in sponsorship, and $150,000 into an operating reserve fund, with commitments to replenish that reserve fund if it is used.
Stays booked through Airbnb and other short term rentals booked independently or through other online booking services are subject to the tax. Follow the instructions above to register for the tax with the City. Airbnb DOES NOT currently collect and remit City room tax on behalf of its hosts in the City of Ithaca, like it does for the County room tax. Therefore, each Airbnb/STR property in the City of Ithaca must independently register with the City and then charge your guests the 5% room tax. You may be able to have Airbnb add City occupancy tax to a listing for you. Please see this article from Airbnb on your options for manually collecting occupancy tax on Airbnb listings
Permanent residents are exempt. Under the City of Ithaca’s room tax law, a permanent resident is defined as anyone renting the property for more than 30 consecutive days. Certain types of stays that have a charitable or government purpose may be exempt. To qualify as an exempt stay, the guest must provide a valid New York State sales tax exemption certificate to the operator. Absent this certificate being received by the operator, the stay is taxable.
· For questions about tax registration, contact Steve Thayer, City Controller, SThayer@cityofithaca.org
· For questions about tax payment, contact Jessica Wright, City Chamberlain, email@example.com
· For questions about the Downtown Ithaca Conference Center project and use of room tax, contact Tom Knipe, Deputy Director for Economic Development, firstname.lastname@example.org
· Local Law 2021-05 – City of Ithaca Room Occupancy Tax
· FORM - City of Ithaca Hotel, Motel, Bed & Breakfast Occupancy Tax Registration
· FORM – City of Ithaca Return of Tax on Occupancy of Hotel Rooms, with Instructions