By Myrna Trauntvein
The transient room tax (TRT) in Juab County will go up from 3.00 percent to 4.25 percent.
Utah imposes a statewide tax on temporary lodging of 0.32 percent and counties may impose a county-wide tax on temporary lodging of up to 4.25 percent.
“In December,” said Ryan Peters, Juab County attorney, “we had an in-depth discussion about the TRT tax.”
He had done an investigation and found that the county could be making more money from the tourist population than they were and had prepared an ordinance for the county commission to approve, if desired, and to sign.
This was not the type of tax increase that required a truth in taxation hearing because it was established by the state and only affected those visiting the county.
Commissioners agreed that the increase would help and Richard Hansen, commissioner, made the motion to adopt it, and Byron Woodland, commissioner, also voted affirmatively.
Clinton Painter, commission chairman, voted against the adoption of the ordinance not because he did not think it was a good idea but because the Juab County Travel Council had not been informed.
“The nice thing about this tax,” said Woodland, “is that it is not a burden on county residents. The TRT tax is paid by tourists and those traveling through our county who stop to fuel, buy food or stay overnight. It is a benefit to our county.”
Peters said that transient room tax (TRT) can be imposed by a county, city or town to rent temporary lodging for stays of less than 30 consecutive days at: hotels, motels, inns, trailer courts, campgrounds, tourist homes and similar accommodations,
Some services, such as a motel pool, where tourists are charged an additional fee are also taxed.
Rooms not used for lodging, such as meeting and convention rooms, etc. are not included in the TRT.
“There is a strict formula set by the Utah State Tax Commission that must be followed,” said Peters.
Because of those requirements, the tax change in Juab County will not go into effect until July 1.
“The state tax commission must be notified,” said Peters.
He said that the county could begin the process the first calendar day after the first quarter and then must wait for a 90-day protest period before the tax could be imposed.
“In the county ordinance,” said Peters, “I updated definitions and wording to match state statutes.”
He also suggested that the county ordinance refer to Utah Code.
“We don’t have to update our ordinance when the state updates ours because we refer to state code,” he said.
The state also requires a tax advisory board be named by the county. Historically, the county has used the Juab County Travel Council as that board but will call a meeting with that council and see what they would like to do in the future.
Much of the TRT tax goes toward tourism and the promotion of tourism. Counties may adopt this tax to support tourism, roads, recreation, cultural, convention or airport facilities within their jurisdiction, Peters said.
“It can also help pay for law enforcement and emergency medical services,” he said.