2024 Accommodations Tax Grant Application Guidelines

The Committee requests each applicant to adhere strictly to the guidelines and requirements provided below.

Failure to correctly complete the application in its entirety, including the necessary board resolution and financial data, may disqualify what may be an otherwise qualifying application.

Application Deadline - Friday, September 1, 2023 at 4 pm

  1. Introduction
    1. As applicable to Hilton Head Island, the State law (see copy attached and section 6-4-10 in particular) specifies three groups, in general, which are entitled to receive bed tax funds after other mandated distributions have been made from the total funds available:
      1. Town government: "Based on the estimated percentage of costs directly attributed to tourists," Town expenditures for "the criminal justice system, law enforcement, fire protection, solid waste collection and health facilities when required to serve tourists and tourist facilities." See 6-4-10 (b) and (b.4).
      2. Qualified groups advertising and promoting tourism in order to develop and increase tourism. See 6-4-10 (b.1).
      3. Qualified sponsors of arts and cultural events and for construction, maintenance and operation of facilities for civic and cultural activities. See 6-4-10 (b.2 and b.3).
    2. The law requires that the funds be used for tourism-related expenditures "primarily in the geographical area... (of Hilton Head Island)." See 6-4-10 (d). Therefore, the committee will not look with favor on applications for funds to be spent outside the Town or for activities or enterprises conducted outside the Town. The Accommodations Tax Advisory Committee will consider how applications either drive tourism to the Town or enhance our visitors' experience.
    3. Applications must be filed by the publicly announced filing deadline. The Committee may, for extraordinary reasons which prevent timely filing, extend the filing deadline.
  2. Notes Regarding The Application
    1. Summary of Grant Request
      1. Provide the organization name and the name of the project or event.
      2. Provide the requested contact information for the organization and a primary contact.
      3. List the organization's total annual budget and its 2024 grant request amount.
      4. Provide a brief description of the intended use of the grant and outline how the money would be used.
        The Committee uses this as a cover page summary - applicants will have an opportunity to provide more detail in the application.
      5. Describe how the organization either drives tourism to the Island or enhances the visitor experience. Show how this is currently being measured.
        This provides the Committee with the necessary insight as to how the organization/event impacts the general tourism industry on the Island.
      6. Provide the annual number of patrons served by the organization/ event. Also provide the total number of tourists served in this total annual number.
        This provides the Committee with an estimated tourist ratio which may be used to determine grant award allocation based off of TERC recommended practices.

        1. Total Number of Physical Tourists Served
          A Tourist is considered a non-resident, traveling more than 50 to the Town of Hilton Head Island.
        2. Total Number of Physical Visitors Served
          A Visitor is considered a non-resident, who travles 50 miles or less to visit the Town of Hilton Head Island.
        3. Total Number of Physical Residents Served
          A Resident is considered any person who clamins their property address within the limits of the Town of Hilton Head Island as their primary residence.
        4. Total Number of Physical Patrons Served (A+B+C=D)
    2. Description of Operations
      1. Describe the organization/event purpose and overall operation.
      2. The description must state what is intended to be accomplished by Accommodation Tax funds, and the source and amount of other funds to be committed to the operations.
      3. Describe the impact to the organization should it not be fully funded for the 2024 grant request.
      4. The "Impact on or Benefit to Tourism" statement should be supported by data and other records or history insofar as possible. All applicants must be able to provide the number of visitors served on an annual basis, or at the event for which funds are requested, and state how this number is calculated. Whenever possible, applicants should provide additional data on how its attendance numbers drive tourism.
        (The State's legal definition of a "visitor" is someone who travels from beyond the government's limits, i.e., outside the Town of Hilton Head Island; however, strong consideration will be given to the State's Tourism Expenditure Review Committee (TERC) preferred definition that a "tourist" is someone who travels from outside a 50 mile radius.)
      5. Per State requirements, please show how the grant request would be classified (as a percentage) by the categories listed. The total amount must equal 100 percent.

      6. To qualify for an award, all planned expenditures must fall into the categories described in Section B.5 of this application (Section 6-4-10 of State Law). Please ensure that the entire grant request is eligible and adequately described in Sections B.1-4 of this application. All details described must reconcile with the total request.
    3. Funding
      1. Provide a brief description on how the organization is currently funded.
      2. As a percentage, show how the current funding is categorized.
      3. Please list the top 3 sources of public funding applied for, or received, for 2023 and 2024.
    4. Financial Guarantees and Procedures
      1. Applicants must include a copy of their organization's official minutes wherein the organization approves the application and commits the organization to financial responsibility for carrying it out to the stage of completion contemplated in the application, should funding be approved.
      2. State whether the organization follows the Town's procurement guidelines, its own procurement guidelines, or does not follow procurement guidelines. For reference, a link to the Town's Standard Operating Procedures for Procurement/Contracting has been provided from within the online application portal.
    5. Measuring Effectiveness:
      1. Provide a description of how the prior Atax funds were used, and to what extent the organization's objectives were achieved. Numerics are encouraged. Bullets or an outline format may be used.
      2. Describe how the organization plans to reduce its dependency on Atax funds in the future or increase its impact on tourism.
    6. Executive Summary
      1. Please use the link in the application portal to access and complete the "Atax Effectiveness Measurement Form" to report uses of the organization's prior ATAX grant, if applicable. When completing the form, reference the Categories in Section B.5 of this application, and report on the specifics of each Category awarded to your organization in its most recent Atax grant. If you choose to create your own format for the Executive Summary instead of using the Atax Effectiveness Measurement form, please reference the form and use the criteria as a guideline. Please note that there is a two page limit for the executive summary.
    7. Application Submission
      1. Requests for funding must be submitted by a non-profit organization. Applications cannot be accepted from individuals, for-profit entities, or ad-hoc committees. Proof of non-profit status must accompany first time applications, e.g., IRS 501 (c) (3) letter.
      2. The full name, postal mailing address, email address and telephone number of a primary contact person, given the authority and responsibility to represent the application before the Committee, must be included on both the title page of the application and in this section.


Contact the Finance Assistant, Shena Smith at ShenaS@hiltonheadislandsc.gov or 843-715-3241