I. Introduction
This TIR is modified by TIR 01-21. As a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Fiscal Year 1998 Budget, the Massachusetts legislature added a new section to Chapter 64G of the General Laws ("The Room Occupancy Excise"). See St. 1997, c. 43, s. 64. Effective October 1, 1997 (1) section 12 of Chapter 64G provides an exemption for employees of the U.S. military traveling on official orders. This Technical Information Release ("TIR") explains who is eligible for this exemption and the documentation necessary to substantiate a claim for exemption.

II. Discussion

A. General

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64G, Section 3, imposes an excise on the transfer of occupancy of any room or rooms in a hotel, lodging house or motel in Massachusetts by any operator, and requires the operator to pay the excise to the Commissioner when filing room occupancy returns. Section 4 of Chapter 64G provides that the room occupant must reimburse the operator for the excise, and that the excise when added to the room rent is a debt from the occupant to the operator recoverable at law in the same manner as other debts.

The exemptions to the Room Occupancy Excise are found in G.L. c. 64G, § 2. In general, there is no exemption for occupancy by federal or other governmental officers and employees. Thus, except as provided by newly-enacted G.L. c. 64G, § 12, below, the excise continues to apply to occupancy by federal officers and employees on official business who themselves make payment for the occupancy, whether or not they are reimbursed by the federal government. See Letter Ruling 80-79. Similarly, the occupancy of rooms by employees of any state, its agencies or political subdivisions, and the occupancy of rooms by employees of charitable organizations remain subject to tax, whether or not such employees are on official business and whether such employees or their employers made payment for the occupancy. See Letter Ruling 82-18.
Newly-added section 12 of Chapter 64G provides as follows:

No excise shall be imposed, pursuant to this chapter, upon the transfer of occupancy of any room or rooms in a hotel, lodging house or motel if the occupant is an employee of the United States military traveling on official United States military orders which encompass the date of said occupancy. Each operator shall maintain such records as the commissioner shall require to substantiate exemptions claimed under this section.

B. Who is eligible for exemption

In order to claim exemption under G.L. c. 64G, § 12, the occupant must be: 1) an employee of the United States military; and 2) traveling on official U.S. military orders which encompass the date of the hotel, lodging house, or motel occupancy.

An "employee of the United States military" means an employee, as defined in Section 3401(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended and in effect for the applicable period, who is employed by any branch of the United States Armed Forces, or their respective reserve components, as enumerated in 10 U.S.C. § 261 (a)(1)-(7). The term "Armed forces" means the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. See 10 U.S.C. § 101(4). For purposes of this TIR, employees of the National Guard, and its reserve components, as defined in 10 U.S.C. § 101(9)-(13), are also eligible for this military exemption. The term "traveling on official United States military orders" means traveling under the express written authority of, and pursuant to the specific written orders of a duly authorized representative of one of the United States Armed Forces or National Guard for purposes of carrying out such specific orders.

C. Substantiation

In order to substantiate a claim for exemption under G.L. c. 64G, § 12, the occupant must provide the operator of a hotel, lodging house, or motel with the following:

(a) proof of identification as an employee of the United States Armed Forces or National Guard, such as an official identification card issued by the appropriate branch of the United States military or National Guard and either of the following:
(b)(1) a copy of the actual military orders, or
(b)(2) an affidavit, letter, or other attestation on official stationery, signed by an authorized official of the appropriate military branch or National Guard indicating that the occupant is traveling under United States military orders which encompass the dates of occupancy.

Operators of hotels, lodging houses, or motels must retain copies of this documentation in order to substantiate claims for exemption under G.L. c. 64G, § 12.


Mitchell Adams
Commissioner of Revenue

January 21, 1998


1. St. 1997, c. 43, s. 308. (return to text)