County seeks to penalize property owners who fail to pay A-tax - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

County seeks to penalize property owners who fail to pay A-tax

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - With one more reading at Horry County Council, property owners could face steeper punishments for not paying accommodation taxes.

In the last fiscal year, Horry County made nearly $1.1 million dollars from accommodations taxes and this year it could make even more.

The problem is, those numbers could be even higher, but some homeowners are flying under the radar.

When you stay in a hotel room or rental property in the county, you pay an accommodations tax. The problem is, some private owners rent their properties out and don't end up collecting or paying the tax.

Horry County's attorney says this has been such a big problem for the county, so Tuesday night council is set to pass an ordinance that could be a solution.

When it does, the county will be able to penalize homeowners who skip out on payments. Those homeowners will face a $500 a week fine until they pay up.

The county says the biggest problem recently has been with homeowners renting out their places through online sites.

Many wind up not paying their ATAX share, leaving less money for things like county beautification and litter pickup.

“These are efforts that county council doesn't want to increase property taxes to do, but they're vitally important for our tourism,” said Bo Ives with Keep Horry County Beautiful. “We want to show our guests that we appreciate this area and that we appreciate that they're coming, and if we don't do those projects there's just no other way to tap it, except to increase property taxes.”

The county attorney says the homeowners who have skipped out on ATAX money should be aware. Just the other week, the county sent out notifications warning them.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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