October 1, 1981
On behalf of ********** Hotel ********** you ask what transactions are excluded from the Massachusetts room occupancy excise, and whether hotel guests may present sales and use tax exemption certificates in lieu of paying the room occupancy excise.
The room occupancy excise is set forth in Chapter 64G of the Massachusetts General Laws. Section 2 of Chapter 64G excludes the following accommodations from the excise:
"(a) lodging accommodations at federal, state or municipal institutions; (b) lodging accommodations at religious, charitable, educational or philanthropic institutions; (c) privately owned and operated convalescent homes or homes for the aged, infirm, indigent or chronically ill; (d) religious or charitable homes for the aged, infirm, indigent or chronically ill; and (e) summer camps for children operated by religious or charitable organizations."
There are no exclusions or exemptions in Chapter 64G that apply to occupancy of an ordinary hotel or motel room.
The sales and use taxes set forth in Chapters 64H and 64I of the General Laws are excises separate from and not related to the room occupancy excise. Therefore, the fact that a person is exempt from payment of sales and use taxes on his purchases of tangible personal property has no bearing on the person's obligation to pay the room occupancy excise. For example, although there is a qualified sales and use tax exemption for sales to charitable organizations, there is no room occupancy excise exemption or exclusion for such organizations. Employees of such organizations on business of the organization are taxable on their occupancy; a direct rental of hotel or motel rooms to a charitable organization is also taxable.
I am enclosing a copy of Letter Ruling 80-79, which concerns the application of the room occupancy excise to occupancy by federal officers and employees on official business who are reimbursed by the federal government for their travel expenses.
Very truly yours,
/s/L. Joyce Hampers
L. Joyce Hampers
Commissioner of Revenue