McDonough Loses No Sleep in Joining GMA’s Expanded Hotel/Motel Tax Service

August 4, 2011

When McDonough City Manager Billy Beckett learned that GMA was looking for a city to pilot an expanded version of its hotel/motel tax revenue recovery service, he did not hesitate to request that his city be considered.

“We have 14 hotels in the city and with staff resources stretched we felt like we weren’t doing as much as we could to maximize this revenue source so participating in the pilot seemed to be a good fit for us,” said Beckett.

After securing approval from the city council, GMA’s service provider worked with the city to set up the revenue administration service, which included updating the city’s ordinance and reporting forms and holding an initial meeting with all providers to explain the new process. Lodging providers began sending their payments to GMA and at the end of the month the city received a payment from GMA which included a listing of each lodging provider’s payment and return form. GMA’s service provider then reviewed the returns to determine if any possible discrepancies existed and followed up on any hotels that did not pay.

After testing the new process for three months, Beckett reports that the service has been a success.

“Through GMA’s service I now have assurance that each hotel pays on time or is pursed for delinquent payment and someone is reviewing the hotel’s returns to determine any potential problems before they become serious. Participating in the pilot identified over $200,000 in unpaid taxes and has greatly improved the efficiency of our administrative procedures.”

As a result of the successful pilot, GMA is now offering the service to all of its member cities. GMA’s Director of Local Government Services Lou Comer explained that the association’s offering is essentially a turnkey service.

“Having provided retrospective auditing services since 1998 we knew there was opportunity to help cities mange the process better, collect revenue in a timely manner and develop more of a compliance ethic from the local lodging providers. With our pilot project in McDonough we found that to be true. We look forward to helping more cities improve this process and collect the tax in a more efficient and timely manner,” said Comer.

If you are interested in learning more about the service please contact Pam Helton at 678-686-6275 or phelton@gmanet.com or Lou Comer at 678-686-6260 or lcomer@gmanet.com. Additional information can be located on the GMA website at www.gmanet.com/hotel.aspx . A webinar will be held on Thursday, September 15 beginning at 10:30 a.m.