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Park Owners Chide State Official on New Tax

July 22, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Campground owners gathered Monday (July 20) at Patrick’s Pub in Gilford, N.H., to pepper a state official about a new tax they said they have yet to figure out, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader

twin-tamarack-sign“Everyone here could be doing a hundred other things at their campgrounds right now,” said John Osuchowski, who operates Twin Tamarak Family Camping and RV Resort in New Hampton. “This is the busiest time of their year. Why couldn’t they do this in January?” 

He said that would allow time to change accounting structures to accommodate the newly enacted law. 

As of July 1, campground users face a 9% rooms and meals tax — and campground owners get to collect it. On a campsite of $40 a night with all utilities included, the tax will cost an extra $3.60. 

Monday’s session for campground owners was one of a series being offered across the state by the Department of Revenue Administration. It was sponsored by the Lakes Region Association. 

There to get up to speed was Chuck Palm, who operates Harbor Hill Camping Area in Meredith. He said the tax’s enactment was “very poorly thought out.” 

harbor-hill-campgroundLast month, campers and campground owners converged at the State House in Concord to protest the ” tent tax,” which was quietly added to balance the state budget in early June. 

Palm estimates about 176 campgrounds will be affected. 

Osuchowski said Monday’s session was quite helpful and he will come to get the hang of it, but he called the tax “absolutely ridiculous.” 

Palm agreed. 

“This is going to hurt the blue collar worker of this state,” he said, noting about 60% of his guests are New Hampshire residents. 

Campground operators said the tax may prompt some guests to make shorter stays and spend less at restaurants. 

Robin Paveglio, taxpayer advocate within the Department of Revenue Administration, was asked how the law affects those who are long-term users of campsites. She said all rentals are taxable unless the occupancy or right to it exceeds 185 days. 

The law defines the “right to it” as having access to the sites. Paveglio said administrative rules regarding the tax are still being drawn up; input from sessions like Monday’s will be helpful for state officials. 

Campground owners will receive a 3% commission on the total tax administered. 

Paveglio urged them to keep “records, records, records. They don’t need to be fancy but they need to be clear,” she said. 

Rental agreements, booking calendars, copies of guest sign-in sheets, bank statements, credit card documents and all expenditure receipts need to be retained for audit. 

The owners were also warned not to wait until the 15th of the month to send the previous month’s collections because if late, they could lose their commission and have to pay interest at 18%.

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