Skip to comments.Some worry a new 9 percent tax on camping will keep people away
Posted on 07/02/2009 9:52:09 AM PDT by NewHampshireDuo
For five months of the year, Marj Rawls and Janice Pollack make New Hampshire their home.
After selling their house in Harpersville, Ala., 12 years ago and using the money to buy an RV, the two have been traveling all across country and stop at a little campground in Brookline each summer to enjoy the Granite State.
But after making New Hampshire their home for so many summers, they may start rethinking their travel plans due to the state's newly revised rooms and meals tax.
"We love this area and we love coming here," Rawls said. "But now we might have to think about coming back."
Rawls and Pollack are among the many campers and site owners that are confused and concerned with the new 9 percent tax levied on stays at campgrounds. Campsite rental fees had previously been exempt from the rooms and meals tax.
"I just got a letter telling me to start collecting the taxes and how to do it," said Daniel MacLean, owner of Field & Stream RV Park in Brookline. "You would have thought that they would have a meeting with people in the camping business to talk about it."
Other owners said they received no such notice from the state.
"We haven't got in any contact with anyone," said Barry Charest, owner of Friendly Beaver Campground in New Boston. "It seems very unorganized on the state of New Hampshire and they should have given us some time to adjust."
The change in the tax came about when Gov. John Lynch signed the state's two-year budget Tuesday. It took effect at the start of the state's next fiscal year, which just happened to be the very next day, July 1.
Taxing camping sites, much like the tax a person pays for staying in a hotel room, would bring more money into already lean state coffers, state budget writers hoped. The move may prove shortsighted, camping officials said.
"It seems that the state thinks that there is a pot of gold waiting to be scooped up here," MacLean said. "But they are just going to lose the people who come here."
Many campgrounds fear the 9 percent tax will prevent seasonal campers like Rawls and Pollack, who stay for months at a time instead of just for a few nights, from making the annual trip to New Hampshire. Because their stay is longer, the tax can be hefty.
For example, someone staying at a seasonal site at MacLean's Field and Stream RV Park is now facing another $223 charge on top of the $2,475 they are already paying to stay from May to October.
For campers staying for a weekend, the increase isn't huge about $10 for a three-day stay but it can add up over the course of a summer.
"We are trying to reduce the effect on the seasonal camper," said Gregg Pitman, executive director of the New Hampshire Campground Association. "The campgrounds that have the most seasonal camps are most concerned. These seasonal campers are the ones that give the owners the money to get through the winter."
There are more than 130 campgrounds in the state, according to the New Hampshire Campground Owner's Association.
Because camping is a relatively inexpensive way for a family to take a vacation, the demographics of campers are generally young families or retirees on a fixed income, according to MacLean. This tax will cut into the money those families have to spend on food and clothes, he said.
Charest, of Friendly Beaver Campground, agrees.
"It's going to have an effect on the people that can't afford a trip to Disney but want to get out and do a family vacation," Charest said. "If the campers have to pay the tax, they are not going to go to the store and spend a little money on things."
In turn, the decreased spending could affect the surrounding economy, some warned.
"I think what is going to happen is that the tax is going to cut into something else they do," said Jayne Cohen, President of Adventure Bound Camping Resorts, which runs the Yogi Bear's Yellowstone Park in the Lakes Region. "They may stay one less night, or not go out to their favorite restaurant or go out to ice cream. In the short term, the state is going to raise the money they need, but in the long run they are going to lose it somewhere else."
Idiots! Vacationing campers reserve in advance and when they are told the cost, Maine and Vermont start looking pretty good.
How do you put a room tax on a piece of ground? Everything else is already taxed.
Theres a reason the taxman is very unpopular.
Going camping in Vermont THIS YEAR! The White Mountains are beautiful but the Green Mountains will keep us busy and richer!
It doesn’t speak well when only “some” figured out taxes kill business.
Camping is not inexpensive if you own an RV or a travel trailer. The sites are usually $25 or more a night, not to mention gas to get there and the cost of a truck to pull the trailer. And the cost of an RV is crazy. Even tent camping is not cheap.
Next thing ya know they’ll be trying to tax the RVs parked in the Wal-Mart parking lots.
I think Chincoteague VA has 9.5% tax on campsites and there seems to be no shortage of campers. Yearly campsite rental is exempted from the tax. Perhaps an unintended good thing will be campgrounds will be able to let more yearly sites.
A few years ago there was a Robin Williams movie called Popeye. One of the character was a tax collector. It seemed every possible activity had a tax on it.
I think we are reaching that point.
The question is when will the people wake up and vote these guys (and gals) out of office.
This will in the long run reduce the amount of taxes collected. Fewer campers, fewer people shopping in the local economy, less taxes collected.
I am not an economist, but I understand the concept.
We all need to go camp on the White House lawn until Urkel is out of office!
Since it is a room tax, the state is taxing the use of the space in the privately owned vehicle because it is situated in a certain spot. One could conceive of the state attempting to tax the RV’s living space even as it moves above a state highway. Why not?
Question to ponder: When the state owns everything, what is left to tax?
For Marj and Janice, possibly.
OK !Campers stay 3 to 4 months in one place which is almost establishing residency. They use the roads, the facilities, Homeowners pay for with their property tax. Why should someone who is a resident for 4 months not pay some sort of property tax.
By the way I hate taxes too, I am just wondering why some people think they should be exempt from helping to pay for roads and other things they use when they are there.
I can understand the casual traveler not wanting to pay this tax, but if you want to live somewhere you have to contribute.
You obviously haven’t been in NH this year. There isn’t anything here but rain, rain and more rain. We are still waiting on Summer.......or Spring for that fact.
I would imagine that if you looked at the history, the room tax went up gradually over the years. Throwing in an unexpected 9% tax is a pretty stiff cost increase to impose all at once.
You can see the thinking involved. Raise the tax on visitors and out-of-staters who make up the large majority of campground users. People always prefer to tax someone else. But it will be interesting to see if it backfires on them. Tourism and out-of-state visitors is a big business in New Hampshire.
“Friendly Beaver Campground?”
Awwww! I was gonna go there this summer! Guess I’ll go to the “Not So Friendly Beaver Campground” in Vermont instead!
I used to own a motorhome. Now we tent in the woods at various places. Much more fun than an RV park. And the only money we spend is no the gas to get there. You can’t tax “free”.
>>Why should someone who is a resident for 4 months not pay some sort of property tax.<<
They do. Just as a person who rents a home pays property taxes. It is rolled into the price.
**the increase isn’t huge**
No it’s not “huge” but that doesn’t mean a ton of “small” tax increases doesn’t add up quickly.
Nickel tax here, a dime, there, eventually you’re talking about a lot of cash!
Moron legislators across the country can’t seem to grasp this simple idea.
I'm gonna be nice here and assume you are just ignorant of the facts and not some loonie liberal
In any rental property the landlord/owner pays the property tax. The tenants' rent has that expense included in it, so the tenants are indeed paying property taxes through the landlord.
A campground is no different. I hope this helps. I've heard this misguided notion several times over the years and I just couldn't let it stand.
I live in NH. I should have said I was going camping in Vermont “When it’s stops raining.”
You probably just gave someone an idea.
This is Lynch and the RATS idea of enhancing the “New Hampshire Advantage”.
The owner of the campground has already paid property taxes, presumably.
The owner of the campground has already paid property taxes, presumably.
And the RV or trailer has already had taxes paid, and the vehicle owner has paid fuel tax to get their, never mind the sales tax on the equipment. With the "room" tax, that's 5 taxes for one activity. That should cover it, dontcha think?
I’ll have to do some research on the mushrooms. Your recipe sounds good. What I don’t eat I can smoke. :)
I never see them in the grocery store, but I don’t think they are necessarily rare. They have a pretty strong flavor (especially compared to those plain old white ‘button’ mushrooms you get in the store), but the strong flavor of the mushrooms goes well with the delicate flavor of the fish. Just do a light butter pan-fry, add some lemon juice (fresh if possible), garnish with a little chopped flat-leaf parsley, a nice baked potato on the side and top off with an ice-cold beer or glass of chardonnay and I’m in heaven!
Many cities have outlawed that, because they don't get to make money off it.
I wonder if they couldn’t just write up a land-lease agreement for the duration of the stay to avoid the “rent tax”?
The state of KS came in at 126 million less in tax revenue than was expected. I heard on the noon news that the gov has already done some cutting but there are “revenue enhancements” coming. Oh boy! I wonder which taxes are going up?
“You would have thought that they would have a meeting with people in the camping business to talk about it.”
You overestimated your place in the pecking order right there.
Don’t forget this tax and all other user/sales taxes is paid for with income that has already been taxed by both the fed gov’t and your local state gov’t (most states, anyway).
So when viewed as a percentage of your income, that 9% tax is really closer to a 15% tax when you look at how many pre-tax dollars you have to earn to pay it.
and the Massachusefication of NH continues...
hey, New Hampshire.....all of us Freepers will come up there and camp in your state and pay four months property tax....IF you let us register to vote in return.
.....nah, didn’t think so.....
Thanks for the menu. Now, I’ll just find the mushrooms.
That’s cool. I was just asking.
Excuse me but they certainly are paying taxes - they’re paying a nightly fee to use the land. The landowner pays property taxes and business taxes out of the $$ that they collect. Sheesh! Go to DU if you think that these campers should pay more taxes! They aren’t staying for free in the campground.
You don’t think the people that own and operate the camp site pay property tax? I am sure that part of the fee they are paying is going towards the property tax, so your argument is bogus.
When you buy gas you are paying taxes for the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges. At least that is what that tax is for. So anyone that buys gas is paying for the roads. So that argument of yours is also bogus.
I am curious just how much of our income do you think we should “contribute” just to live somewhere? 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 110% — Is there a total that an individual can pay that would satisfy you? By the time you add in income tax, sales tax, gas tax, auto tax and some I can not think of, we are paying a good portion of our income in taxes already. But again,how much do you think is fair?
We are taxed when we earn the money. We are taxed when we spend what we earned. We are taxed if we want to drive down the street. We are taxed to live in our own homes.
What next, tax for the oxygen we breath.
I agree that we all need to support a certain amount of government and infrastructure. But the process is broken.
Governements are taxing us for things that they should not be doing. If they stopped spending on things they should not be spending on, perhaps they would not need new taxes all the time.