The Montana Department of Revenue does not administer the Local Resort Tax.

The information provided on this page is informational only and may be inconsistent with local laws and regulations.

For more information on Resort and Local Option Taxes, see the Montana Department of Transportation and Land Use website.

Resort taxes create a funding source for some communities and resort areas to finance a variety of services.

They are collected in certain Montana communities and areas that meet specific population and economic conditions.

The fundamental idea behind resort taxes is to allow places with high numbers of visitors, but relatively few residents, to manage the wear-and-tear on local infrastructure without overburdening local citizens.

The resort tax is a sales tax that applies to:

  • Hotels, motels, and other lodging or camping facilities;
  • Restaurants, fast food stores, and other food service establishments;
  • Taverns, bars, night clubs, lounges, or other public establishments that serve alcohol; and
  • Destination ski resorts or other destination recreational facilities

The resort tax also applies to luxuries sold in the resort area.

See 7-6-1503 and 7-6-1501, MCA for more information.

Taxes and Fees

The maximum resort tax rate is 3% (7-6-1503, MCA).

At least 5% of the resort tax revenue must offset municipal property taxes (7-6-1507, MCA).

Before collecting resort tax revenue, the Montana Department of Commerce must first designate a community (incorporated) or area (unincorporated) as a resort community or area (7-6-1501, MCA).

The local electorate must approve the tax (17-6-1504, MCA).

Designation

Montana law says the Montana Department of Commerce decides if a town or area counts as a resort. (7-6-1501, MCA)

Before declaring a resort area, the Montana Department of Commerce certifies:

  • The population is below:
    • 5,500 for an incorporated town, or
    • 2,500 for an unincorporated area
  • The major portion of an area’s economy is based on tourism

Once the Montana Department of Commerce says an area qualifies as a resort, the local voters must decide on the tax rate, duration, effective date and allocation on a ballot initiative.

Current Resort Areas and Tax Rates

Resort NameTax RateYear Enacted
Red Lodge3%1998
Virginia City3%1991
West Yellowstone3%1986
Whitefish3%1996
Big Sky 3%1992
Cooke City3%2006
Craig3%2010
Gardiner3%2014
St Regis3%1993
Wolf Creek3%2015

Other Helpful Information