The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:


Section 1.  Levy of Tax.  (a) The Board of Commissioners of Onslow County may by resolution, after not less than 10 days' public notice and after a public hearing held pursuant thereto, levy a room occupancy and tourism development tax.

(b)       Collection of the tax, and liability therefor, shall begin and continue only on and after the first day of a calendar month set by the board of county commissioners in the resolution levying the tax, which in no case may be earlier than the first day of the second succeeding calendar month after the date of adoption of the resolution.

Sec. 2.  Rate of Tax.  The room occupancy and tourism development tax that may be levied under this act shall be three percent (3%) of the gross receipts derived from the rental of any room, lodging, or similar accommodation furnished by any hotel, motel, inn, tourist camp, or other similar enterprise within the county now subject to the three percent (3%) sales tax imposed by the State under G.S. 105-164.4(3).  This tax is in addition to any local sales tax.

Sec. 3.  Exemptions.  The tax authorized by this act does not apply to gross receipts derived by the following entities from accommodations furnished by them:

(1)       religious organizations;

(2)       a business that offers to rent fewer than five units;

(3)       educational organizations; and

(4)       summer camps.

Sec. 4.  Administration of Tax.  (a) Any tax levied under this act is due and payable to the county in monthly installments on or before the 15th day of the month following the month in which the tax accrues.  Every person, firm, corporation, or association liable for the tax shall, on or before the 15th day of each month, prepare and render a return on a form prescribed by Onslow County.  The return shall state the total gross receipts derived in the preceding month from rentals upon which the tax is levied.

(b)       Any person, firm, corporation, or association failing or refusing to file the return required by this act shall pay a penalty of ten dollars ($10.00) for each day's omission.

(c)       In case of failure or refusal to file the return or pay the tax for a period of 30 days after the time required for filing the return or for paying the tax, there shall be an additional tax, as a penalty, of five percent (5%) of the tax due, in addition to the penalty prescribed in subsection (b), with an additional tax of five percent (5%) for each additional month or fraction thereof until the occupancy tax is paid.

(d)       Any person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade the tax imposed by this act or to make a return or who willfully fails to pay the tax or make and file a return shall, in addition to all other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment not to exceed six months, or both.

Sec. 5.  Collection of Tax.  Every operator of a business subject to the tax levied by this act shall, on and after the effective date of the levy of the tax, collect the three percent (3%) tax.  This tax shall be collected as part of the charge for the furnishing of any taxable accommodations.  The tax shall be stated and charged separately from the sales records, and shall be paid by the purchaser to the operator of the business as trustee for and on account of Onslow County.  The tax levied pursuant to this act shall be added to the sales price and shall be passed on to the purchaser instead of being borne by the operator of the business.  The county shall design, print, and furnish to all affected businesses in Onslow County the necessary forms for filing returns and instructions to ensure the collection of the tax.

Sec. 6.  Use of Taxes Collected.  (a)     Onslow County shall deposit the proceeds of the occupancy tax in the general fund of the county, to be used only to further the development of travel, tourism, and conventions in the county.

Sec. 7.  Repeal of Levy.  (a)       The board of county commissioners may by resolution repeal the levy of the room occupancy tax in Onslow County, but no repeal of taxes levied under this act shall be effective until the end of the fiscal year in which the repeal resolution was adopted.

(b)       No liability for any tax levied under this act that attached prior to the date on which a levy is repealed is discharged as a result of the repeal, and no right to a refund of a tax that accrued prior to the effective date on which a levy is repealed may be denied as a result of the repeal.

Sec. 8.  This act is effective upon ratification.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this the 1st day of July, 1986.