Hotel taxes are common in the U.S., and Pennsylvania is one of the many states that has an occupancy tax. Travelers to the state should be prepared to pay this extra expense, while those renting rooms in the state's two most populous cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, will find the tax higher than those in other parts of the state.
In Pennsylvania, the state hotel tax is 6 percent, the same as sales tax. However, Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh, has an additional one-percent tax, and the city of Philadelphia imposes an additional two-percent tax on hotel guests.
The state authorizes hotels to collect the tax from guests on its behalf. They collect it whenever the guest pays his bill: at the end of the stay.
Hotel tax is not applicable to permanent residents of a property. Therefore, if a guest winds up staying longer than 30 days, the owner will have to refund any hotel tax paid.
Hotel tax is not only six percent--or more--of the cost of the room. It can also include services and amenities as well, such as room service and other charges.
Not all hotel guests have to pay the occupancy tax. Some, like officials from the government and other federal institutions, as well as foreign ambassadors, dignitaries, and government workers are exempt. People who are exempt will have to provide the hotel owner documentation to prove their status.