Brad Rich / Carolina Coast Online

NC - Occupancy Tax Revenue Breaks November, December Records, Ends 2020 at $9M

EMERALD ISLE — The record-setting year for tourism and occupancy tax revenue continued through the end of 2020, Carteret County Shore Protection Office Manager Greg Rudolph said in an email Wednesday.

Even as the coronavirus pandemic continued to significantly affect the county, region and nation, November tax collections from vacation rentals of motel and hotel rooms, condominiums and houses hit $401,504, and in December the 6% tax brought in $186,056.

Both totals, while low compared to late spring, summer and early fall, easily broke the previous records for those months, $380,894 and $150,872, respectively, both set in 2018.

“A string of record-breaking months began in June and has continued unabated for every month since,” Mr. Rudolph said in the email. “It is still apparent that we are experiencing a significant uptick in visitation, almost certainly predicated by changing vacationing patterns and remote-working opportunities that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The phenomenon, he added, “helped rocket our 2020 collection of $9,004,643 to a level that was 18 percent above our previous calendar year high, which was $7,621,795, set in 2018.”

The county’s beach nourishment fund receives half of the revenue from the occupancy tax, and by the end of December, the fund had climbed to $28.6 million, even after annual expenses.

In September, the total tax collection was $1,000,631, which broke the record for that month. August also broke a record, at $1,830,611, a 17% increase compared to the same month in 2019.

Read more.