By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
The City of South Padre Island wants property owners to know that the deadline to register their properties in compliance with the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT tax) is fast approaching. City Ordinance No. 15-03 went into effect June 15, but the final deadline to register is July 1.
All property owners who rent their properties for less than 30 days must remit HOT taxes on those units. City officials estimate that some 3,000 such rental units exist on the Island. Since revenue generated from the HOT tax goes directly back into promoting future tourism and occupancy on the Island, officials are eager to make sure everyone is, in fact, paying the required taxes.
With the numbers between estimated rental units and those remitting taxes not adding up, the City passed Ordinance 15-03 to help mitigate both the issue of property owners who are not in compliance, as well as an emerging issue of advertising fraud. Since the passage of the ordinance in May, approximately 1,100 units have now been registered, according to South Padre Island City Manager Bill DiLibero.
For property owners who fail to register by the final deadline, the City’s Code Enforcement department will begin issuing citations in the amount of $500 per day. “The Code Enforcement Department will be forced to issue citations to property owners found in violation after the July 1st deadline,” said Environmental Health Director Victor Baldovinos via a statement released by the City.
The City doesn’t want property owners to feel as though the ordinance is a punitive measure, however. “It’s more important to us that they’re in the system paying HOT taxes,” said City copywriter Nancy Botello Wednesday.
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