Occupancy Tax

Creation of Occupancy Tax

On November 1, 1986, the Onslow County Board of Commissioners levied a 3% occupancy tax in Onslow County. This tax is computed on the receipts derived from the rental of any room, lodging, or accommodation furnished by a hotel, motel, inn, tourist camp, or similar place within the County that is subject to sales tax imposed by the State of North Carolina under North Carolina General Statute 105-164.4 (a)(3). This tax is also in addition to any State or Local sales tax.


This tax does not apply to the following:

  • A private residence, cottage, or similar accommodation that is rented for fewer than 15 days in a calendar year other than a private residence, cottage, or similar accommodation listed with a real estate broker or agent.
  • An accommodation supplied to the same person for a period of 90 or more continuous days.
  • An accommodation arranged or provided to a person by a school, camp, or similar entity where a tuition or fee is charged to the person for enrollment in the school, camp, or similar entity.

Government Rentals

Rentals made directly to and paid directly by the U.S. Government (Federal Government and Military Personnel) are tax exempt. The exception to this law is the Army National Guard. Sales to this organization are not tax exempt because it is funded by the State. In order for room rental to the federal government and military personnel to be tax exempt, the room must be paid for directly by the U.S. Government, otherwise it is taxable.


Payment tendered must be in one of the following forms: 

  • Federal Government Treasury Check;
  • Official Purchase Order, along with tax exempt certificate, presented to the business for direct bill;
  • US Government VISA I.M.P.A. C. (International Merchant Purchase Authorization Card. Card bearing the legend "US Govt. Tax Exempt" and "For Official Use Only."
In addition to these requirements, the card must have the prefix of 4716 to constitute a U.S. Government credit card.

Requirements include:

  • Centrally billed American Express Card used in connection with traveling. This card is printed with the legend "United States Government" and "For Official U.S. Government Travel Only" on its face. The card must also bear the prefix 34539, which indicates that it is centrally billed.
  • For audit purposes, the business must retain copies of purchase orders, checks used for payment, bankcard copies, or other documentation which will substantiate lodging was provided for the federal government personnel on official business. Such documentation must be retained by the business for a period 3 years following the date of sale.

Payment Submission

The Room Occupancy Tax form and payment are due in the Onslow county Finance Office on or before the 15th day of the following month in which the tax accrues. Returns must be filed even if no taxes are due. Returns and payments filed by U.S. Postal Service are deemed to be filed on the date shown on the postmark stamped by the Postal Service. Any and all other means of filing the returns and payments are deemed filed the date received in the Onslow County Finance Office.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the Onslow County Finance Office at Finance_Office@onslowcountync.gov .