Tax FAQs

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Hospitality Tax Application

What is hospitality tax?
What will the tax revenue be used for?
Does it matter how a business shows the new 2% tax to the consumers, for receipting purposes?
Can I pay the taxes via mail or at City Hall, or do I have to use the on-line process?
Where can I find information regarding the new tax?
Will the City be contacting me to let me know how much I owe in taxes?
Is this tax applicable to wholesale food distributors, who have no direct customer consumption on-site?
How will this tax be remitted to the City of Sevierville?
Which business types are required to collect and remit this money to the city?
Do convenient stores pay the restaurant taxes?

What is considered prepared food?
What sales are subject to the restaurant tax?
What sales are exempt from the restaurant tax?
What sales are subject to the amusement tax?
What sales are exempt from the amusement tax?
What sales are subject to the lodging tax?
What sales are exempt from the lodging tax?
What happens if my tax form is submitted after the 20th of the month?
What happens if my payment is received after the 20th day of the month?
When will online payment be available?
Can I pay my taxes with a credit card?
Where do I send my tax payment?
How long do I need to keep my records?
What happens if I fail to make the required tax payment?
What should I do if I started charging the tax sometime after July 1st?
If I own more than one business that is required to remit taxes, do I have to send a separate check for each location?
If my business has to remit more than one type of tax, do I have to file a separate form for each type?
If my business has to remit more than one type of tax, do I have to send a separate check for each type?
Does the tax reduce my business earnings?
Do I have to file a tax return if I had no taxable sales in a particular month?
Why must I file the return online?
 

 

What is hospitality tax?

Tourism is the main economic driver for Sevierville and Sevier County. For many years, the City of Sevierville has desired to increase our investment in tourism, so that we can effectively grow this vitally important industry. To this end, the Sevierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen recently approved a 2% restaurant tax and a 2% amusement tax. In the proposed FY2014 (7/1/13-6/30/14) City budget, 89% of the projected revenue resulting from these taxes has been earmarked for tourism advertising and tourism-related infrastructure expenditures. 2% lodging tax is also a part of the hospitality tax collections, and has been on-going within the city limits since 1988.

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What will the tax revenue be used for?

These taxes will be allocated towards tourism advertising and tourism-related infrastructure expenditures.

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Does it matter how a business shows the new 2% tax to the consumers, for receipting purposes?

State sales tax for the City of Sevierville is currently 9.75%, and should be listed as such on all receipts. The new tax should be listed as a separate line item, such as “amusement tax” or “restaurant tax” or “lodging tax” so as not to confuse the customers, and give the opinion that the state sales tax has increased for our area.

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Can I pay the taxes via mail or at City Hall, or do I have to use the on-line process?

Effective with your July 2013 return, all restaurant, amusement and lodging taxes must be filed online at www.seviervilletn.org.   

The first tax return due from your business will be due on August 20th, 2013, for July 2013’s taxable revenue. Please complete your filing process on line, print a copy for your records, and a copy to remit with your payment directly to City Hall. Online payment options will soon be available.

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Where can I find information regarding the new tax?

A copy of each law is available online at www.seviervilletn.org. These documents are on the home page and titled as follows:

·    Sevierville  Amusement Tax

·    Sevierville Restaurant Tax

·    Sevierville Lodging Tax

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Will the City be contacting me to let me know how much I owe in taxes?

No.  Hospitality taxes are based on your business’s monthly taxable revenue, which is then calculated at a 2% tax rate to be remitted directly to the City of Sevierville. These taxes are due by the 20th of each month, for the previous month’s taxable revenue. The tax revenues owed will be calculated on our website link, titledTAXES – Online Filing” and a tax form will generate once it is filled out and verified by the business representative. A print out of the form will need to be mailed in with the monthly payment.

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Is this tax applicable to wholesale food distributors, who have no direct customer consumption on-site?

No. This tax should not be charged to food wholesalers, who do not provide onsite consumption at their factories or ware houses. Please be prepared to provide a wholesalers tax ID number should you be contacted by the tax department from the City of Sevierville.

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How will this tax be remitted to the City of Sevierville?

Effective with your July 2013 return, all restaurant, amusement and lodging taxes should be filed online at www.seviervilletn.org. After certifying that all figures are true and correct, print the form and remit along with payment to the City of Sevierville, PO Box 5500, Sevierville, TN  37864. Please remember to keep a copy for your records.

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Which business types are required to collect and remit this money to the city?

The restaurant tax should be collected by any establishment selling prepared food in the City of Sevierville, whether for consumption on-premises or off-premises. The amusement tax should be collected by any amusement or establishment within the city limits,  where a fee is charged for admission or entrance (either directly or indirectly). The lodging tax is collected on overnight stays in any hotel, motel, cabins, resorts, etc. For a complete list of business types required to collect this tax, please review the laws on all three taxes listed on our website.

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Do convenient stores pay the restaurant taxes?

Convenience stores and gas stations are to charge and remit this 2% tax if they are serving any type of “prepared” food to their consumers. Prepared food” includes any of the following: food sold in a heated state or heated by the seller; two (2) or more food ingredients mixed or combined by the seller for sale as a single item; food sold with eating utensils; nonalcoholic beverages, except for beverages sold in unopened containers to be consumed off premises.

A copy of each law is available online at www.seviervilletn.org. We have also provided a document titled “Sevierville Hospitality Taxes” which explains the purpose of the taxes. These documents are on the home page and titled as follows:

·                     Sevierville  Amusement Tax

·                     Sevierville Restaurant Tax

·                     Sevierville Lodging Tax

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What is considered prepared food?

Prepared food includes ready to eat food or beverage items, whether for consumption on-premises or off-premises, including but not limited to restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, caterers, delicatessens, snack bars, ice cream parlors, lunch rooms or counters within other retail businesses, and other similar establishments engaged in selling prepared food.  “Prepared food” includes any of the following: food sold in a heated state or heated by the seller; two (2) or more food ingredients mixed or combined by the seller for sale as a single item; food sold with eating utensils; nonalcoholic beverages, except for beverages sold in unopened containers to be consumed off premises.

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What sales are subject to the restaurant tax?

All prepared food and non-alcoholic beverages.

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What sales are exempt from the restaurant tax?

Any alcoholic beverages, food prepared by non-profit organizations, or tax exempt organizations, and food being purchased by any organization which currently falls within a tax exempt status. A copy of the consumer’s tax exempt status form(s) must accompany the monthly filing return to be able to take the deduction from the gross revenue.

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What sales are subject to the amusement tax?

The amusement tax should be collected by any theater, athletic contest, exhibition, show, production, performance, concert, recital, circus, carnival, act, exhibit, lecture, nightclub, dance, restaurant which provides a floor show, rides or excursions, shooting galleries, as well as all mechanical or electrical devices operated for pleasure or skill, where a fee is charged for admission or entrance (either directly or indirectly). (For a complete list of business types required to collect this tax, please review the amusement tax law on the City website.) “Admission” means admission into or for an amusement, whether as a participant, as a spectator or otherwise.

Such tax shall be added by each and every operator to each ticket sold for a consideration for admission into and for such amusement, and shall be collected by such operator from the consumer and remitted to the City Recorder. The tax shall not be assumed by the operator. Where the tax calculated on any individual admission ticket includes any fraction of a cent, the next highest full cent shall be charged.

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What sales are exempt from the amusement tax?

Play on coin operated machines of skill or chance are exempt from the provisions of this tax, as well as charitable organizations, educational institutions, or religious organizations. For a more detailed description of such organizations, please refer to  Amusement Tax.

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What sales are subject to the lodging tax?

Lodging entities (hotels, inns, resorts, cabins, motels, campgrounds, tourist camps, etc.) located within the city limits which provide overnight occupancy to persons or transients for accommodations for a period of less than 30 days.

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What sales are exempt from the lodging tax?

Any lodging stays booked for more than 30 days at one time; any overnights sales which are purchased by those organizations having a valid certificate of exemption by the Tennessee Department of Revenue. A copy of such proof shall be submitted along with the monthly tax return.

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What happens if my tax form is submitted after the 20th of the month?

All forms submitted after the 20th of the month are considered delinquent and will be subject to applicable penalty and interest, as found in each of the laws which are located on the city website www.seviervilletn.org.

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What happens if my payment is received after the 20th day of the month?

Postmarks will be given consideration when payments are mailed in through the USPS. The city reserves the right to follow up if it is unclear if an on-time payment was attempted on behalf of the taxpayer.

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When will online payment be available?

The City of Sevierville is currently working on providing online payment options. These updates will be added to the online tax program as soon as they become available. For the time being, all tax forms must be filled out and printed by the taxpayers, and submitted directly to city hall, by USPS, or placed in our overnight drop box (located in the median between City Hall and the Sevierville Police Department), or they may be hand delivered directly to our cashier area located in City Hall. All payments must be accompanied by the applicable form(s).

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Can I pay my taxes with a credit card?

Yes. Payments must be made in person and accompanied by all applicable forms to use a credit or debit card, until online payment options become available.

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Where do I send my tax payment?

Please remit your tax payment to:         

City of Sevierville Taxes
PO Box 5500
Sevierville, TN  37864-5500

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How long do I need to keep my records?

All businesses liable for the collection and payment of these taxes must keep and preserve all records substantiating these tax payments for a minimum of three (3) years. The City Recorder will have the right to inspect at all reasonable times.

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What happens if I fail to make the required tax payment?

Refusal of an operator to collect or remit the tax or willful refusal of a purchaser to pay the tax imposed is hereby declared to be unlawful and shall be punishable upon conviction by a fine not in excess of fifty dollars ($50.00). The fine charged shall be applicable to each individual transaction involving food services, amusement and gate fees, and overnight lodging  paid by a customer to the operator in those cases where the operator fails or refuses to pay the tax payable to the City Recorder.

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What should I do if I started charging the tax sometime after July 1st?

The restaurant tax and amusement tax were imposed on all taxable sales beginning July 1, 2013. The tax is due to the city for all taxable sales on and after that date regardless whether or not collected from the consumer.

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If I own more than one business that is required to remit taxes, do I have to send a separate check for each location?

No. This is at the tax payer’s discretion. All payment amounts must be equal to the total amount due for a particular taxpayer, and need to equal the total amount for all forms being submitted for payment.

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If my business has to remit more than one type of tax, do I have to file a separate form for each type?

Yes. Your business will be set up with the required services to file and choose from. If you feel these services are not set up correctly when you log in to view your account and information, please contact Nicole Catlett with the City of Sevierville at (865)453-5504.

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If my business has to remit more than one type of tax, do I have to send a separate check for each type?

No.

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Does the tax reduce my business earnings?

No, all three types of hospitality tax are similar to the state sales tax in that they are a pass through to the customer.  The taxes should be displayed on the receipt as a separate tax, collected from the consumer and remitted directly to the City on a monthly basis.

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Do I have to file a tax return if I had no taxable sales in a particular month?

Yes. A tax return must be remitted, even if there are no sales or business.

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Why must I file the return online?

Like many governments and public utilities, including the State of Tennessee, the City is transitioning to more automated systems to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs. 

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If you need assistance with this process during the transition, please contact Nicole Catlett at 865-453-5504. 

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