February 21, 1985
At the ___________ ("Inn") a prospective motel guest sends a deposit to the Inn to hold a room reservation. If the prospective guest does not arrive to occupy the room reserved and insufficient cancellation notice is given, the prospective guest forfeits his reservation deposit. You ask whether the forfeited deposit is subject to the Massachusetts room occupancy excise.
In general, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64G, Section 3 imposes an excise upon the transfer of occupancy of any room or rooms in a hotel, lodging house, or motel in Massachusetts. "Occupancy" is defined as to include the right to the use or possession of any room or rooms in a motel as a lessee, tenant, guest or licensee. (G.L. c. 64G, § (1)(e)).
A deposit reserves to the prospective guest the right to use or possess that room, therefore the forfeited deposit is subject to the Massachusetts room occupancy excise.
Very truly yours,
/s/Ira A. Jackson
Commissioner of Revenue