The in Wantagh owes Nassau County more than $600,000 in fines and uncollected taxes dating back nearly two decades, according to an audit released Tuesday.
The Jones Beach Hotel, located on 3275 Byron Street in Wantagh, has failed to pay Nassau County's Hotel and Motel Tax since 1994, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos indicated in his audit report. The hotel did not register and file hotel and motel occupancy from November 1994 to July 9, 2011 and in that nearly 17-year period owed $610,400 in fines, Maragos said.
The other hotel cited in the county comptroller's report was the Allegria in Long Beach, which owes the county $132,000 since first opening in 2010. Maragos said all other hotels in the county have complied with the tax, which is allocated to promote tourism and conventions as well as to assist in the operation of non-profit museums and cultural organizations.
Following the audit, the Nassau County's treasurer office referred the unpaid hotel and motel occupancy taxes by the Jones Beach Hotel and Allegria to the county’s collection agency, Maragos said.
“We are pleased that the treasurer has acted promptly to collect unpaid hotel and motel taxes and to put procedures in place for better oversight of delinquent taxpayers,” said Maragos, who was elected Nassau County comptroller in 2009 and is currently running in a senate race to be the Republican challenger to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY.
Letters from the Treasurers Officers were went to the Jones Beach Hotel informing them of the tax requirement dated June 28, 1995, Nov. 9, 2007, Dec. 8, 2008 and May 27, 2009, according to the audit. Maragos said it was only at the time of the audit on July 9, 2011 that the hotel registered.
The audit also pointed out that the Jones Beach Hotel did not pay occupancy taxes of $1,772 in 2009 and $1,930 in 2010. Maragos said that during the time of the audit in August 2011 the occupancy taxes were paid but interest and penalties were not included in the payments.
Another finding in the audit shows the Jones Beach Hotel being unable to support $33,850 and $12,181 in exemptions claimed for 2009 and 2010 due to inaccurate record keeping. Maragos said his office requested copies of the Jones Beach Hotel's New York State quarterly tax returns from 2009-2010 but they were not provided.
A spokesman at Jones Beach Hotel front desk, who did not wish to be identified, said a formal statement will be issued by their owners after reviewing the audit report. He said the hotel is primarily full of residents rather than short-term customers and they will be glad to work with the county to resolve any pending tax issues.