Thursday, December 17, 2015

Arnett: $345K collected in taxes

Foster Arnett
Knox County Clerk Foster Arnett Jr. told the county’s Audit Committee on Thursday that his office has collected $345,815 in outstanding hotel and motel taxes that had gone uncollected during the past two years.

He said he has about $130,000 left to go after.

The discussion comes more than six months after an internal audit report said at least a dozen local hotels and motels owed the county an estimated $476,000 from the past two years alone, and that four hotels alone could owe an additional $255,000 "for periods outside the audit scope."

County lodgings are expected to charge a 5 percent occupancy tax that is used to fund tourism-related operations and programs in Knox County.

Arnett’s office is charged with collecting the money.

The county clerk took heavy criticism from other elected leaders, including many on the Knox County Commission, after the audit report was made public. Since then he’s sent letters to hotel and motel owners and also met with them to collect the outstanding taxes.

“There’s just a few left,” he said. “There is one that is fairly huge, but there’s a little here and there (from other motels).”

Arnett said he spoke with one hotel owner on Wednesday and “we made it very clear what their deadlines are.”

“We are following the law and working very closely with the law department to send out notifications,” he said. “We’re on the right track, I think.”

State law prevents the county from releasing the names of those who owe money, although state leaders are looking into changing that.

1 comment:

Dan Andrews said...

So I guess in theory the law can reverse engineer this. Simply ask Visit Knoxville for all the hotels that have paid their bill and are 100% up to date!