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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

How do I determine if I need a Business License?
Every business operating within the Town of Hilton Head Island limits shall be required to have a Business License for each location including home occupations.
How do I determine if my location is zoned for my type of business?
Please contact the Planning Department at Town Hall (843) 341-4681 to discuss location and options.
How do I find assistance for new business owners?
You may contact SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) at the Chamber of Commerce (843)785-3673, or you may call SBDC (Small Business Development Center) at the University of South Carolina (843)208-8259.
How do I determine how many rental units I can rent out without obtaining a Business License?
Starting in 2007, according to our ordinance, you are required to obtain a Business License if you own and rent 2 or more residential rental units long or short term within the Town.
How do I determine if while working under someone else who has a Business License would require me to obtain a Business License?
If you are not on that person's payroll with taxes deducted out of your paycheck and receive a 1099 form, you are considered self-employed and you would need a Business License.
How do I register the name of my business?
The Town does not register names of business, but you can check with us by calling (843)341-4677 to see if anyone is presently using your potential name within the Town of Hilton Head Island. You may also check with the Secretary of State to check if anyone has Incorporated the name you would like to use and the laws governing this issue.
What is the Beach Preservation Fee?
A uniform fee equal to 2% is imposed on the gross proceeds derived from the rental for any rooms (excluding meeting rooms), campgrounds spaces, recreational vehicle spaces, lodgings or sleeping accommodations furnished to transients by any hotel, inn, condominium, motel, "bed and breakfast", residence or any other place in which rooms, lodgings or sleeping accommodations are furnished to transients within the Town of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
What is Accommodations Tax?
A local accommodations tax equal to 1% is hereby imposed on the gross proceeds derived from the rental of any rooms (excluding meeting rooms), campgrounds spaces, recreational vehicle spaces, lodgings or sleeping accommodations furnished to transients by any hotel, inn, condominium, motel, "bed and breakfast", residence or any other place in which rooms, lodgings or sleeping accommodations are furnished to transients within the Town of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

If you own residential property in the Town of Hilton Head Island and you rent it short term, you need to know the following rules and regulations:

Accommodations Tax & Beach Preservation Fee Fact Sheet pdf icon

What are the Town's Accommodation Tax/Beach Preservation Fee requirements?
Town Code Sec 4-10-30 and 4-9-30 requires anyone renting residential sleeping accommodations to the same person for less than 90 days to collect and remit Accommodations and Beach Preservations Fees (ATX). Additionally, other state and county taxes must be collected. If you own residential rental property you need to know the following:
  • If you own more than one rental property, you will need a business license in addition to an ATX permit.
  • If you rent through a property management company and they remit the payments on your behalf, you must provide the name of the management company.
  • If your property is used for long term rentals, a copy of the lease must be submitted.

Business License/Accommodation Tax and Beach Preservation Fee Permit/Application pdf icon

Taxes To be Remitted to the Town (3%)
1% Local Accommodations tax
2% Beach Preservation fee

These taxes/fees are due by the 20th day following the end of the calendar quarter.

When are Town tax payments due?
1st qtr: Must be received by the Town by April 20th.
2nd qtr: Must be received by the Town by July 20th.
3rd qtr: Must be received by the Town by October 20th.
4th qtr: Must be received by the Town by January 20th.
Taxes to be remitted to the State of South Carolina (7%)
5% State sales tax (for ATX sales/rentals)
2% State Accommodations tax

Contact the state for remittance date for taxes collected on their behalf.

How and where do I remit my Town payments?
You must obtain an ATX permit number and submit your payments as follows:

Each credit card payment is limited to $2,500.

  • Online
  • By fax: (843) 341-4637, credit card payments only.
  • By mail: Checks to this address: Hilton Head Island Town Hall One Town Center Court Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
  • In person: Credit card, cash and checks will be accepted at Town Hall.

Accommodations Tax Payment Form pdf icon
Hospitality Tax Payment Form pdf icon

What else do I need to know?
Penalties and fines associated with non-compliance with application and remittance requirements:
  • Late fees of 5% of the unpaid amount...for each month or portion thereof after the due date until paid will be assessed.
  • Accounts with payments outstanding two weeks after the due date may be subject to a municipal summons with fines of up to $1,092.50.
  • Continued non-payment of amounts due may result in liens being placed on.
SC Dept of Revenue (SCDOR):
If operating a retail business a State Retail License must be obtained. New businesses should contact the SCDOR to determine their process for applying for a tax ID number and certificates, payment remittance and timeframes. Contact (803)898.5788 or www.sctax.orgexternal link icon.
Who is considered a transient?
Anyone leasing or renting sleeping accommodations for a period of less than ninety (90) days.

Contact Information:

Beaufort County Auditor’s Officeexternal link icon - (843)255-2509 - Beaufort County assesses an annual Personal Property Tax on the value of the rental property appliances & furniture.

Internal Revenue Service external link icon- (800)829-1040