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Transient Occupancy Tax Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)?

Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) is a rental tax that is paid by the guest for short-term rentals up to 30 days. It is also known by names such as room tax, a use tax, a tourist tax, or hotel tax. The owner/ operator remits the tax to the county every quarter. TOT is authorized under State Revenue and Taxation Code Section 7280 and Placer County Code 4.16. The tax acts as an additional source of non-property tax revenue to local government.

What is my Tax Rate?

The tax rate depends on the location of the rental unit within the Eastern or Western slope. The division line is near Rainbow Road and I-80. The tax rate for the area known as:

  • “North Lake Tahoe Area, Eastern Slope” is 10%
  • “Western Slope” is 8%

You can look up your tax rate with the APN number of the property, or Contact Revenue Services with the exact address of the rental unit to determine the correct tax rate. (Sec. 4.16.030).

Who is responsible for collecting TOT from guests if I rent via airbnb, VRBO, or other internet based rentals ?

Hosts/Property Owners are responsible for following all laws and regulations, including paying any TOT taxes that apply to their accommodations. 

If I use a property manager for my rental, do I still need to file a return?

If Transient Occupancy Tax administration for your property is maintained by a property management company, and that company collects and reports all of your rental income and Transient Occupancy Tax, you do not need to file a return. You are responsible for their compliance with Transient Occupancy Tax ordinance on your behalf. If you collect any rents outside of your agreement with the property management company, you would be required to file a return for the portion of rental income that you collected.

What fees are included as rent for Transient Occupancy Tax?

Sec 4.16.020 - Definitions - “Rent” means the consideration charged, whether or not received, for the occupancy of space in a hotel valued in money, whether to be received in money, goods, labor or otherwise, including all receipts, cash, credits, property and services of any kind or nature without any deduction there from whatsoever.

Rent does not include any additional items included in a special package rate, such as ski passes, or other recreational activity, or additional services, as long as the operator separately states the rent and tax from other amounts on all receipts and books of record.

If additional benefits or services are not stated separately as indicated above, the entire amount shall be presumed to be rent. Required and collected amounts for room-related fees and services are subject to transient occupancy tax.

How often do I have to file my Transient Occupancy Tax?

You must file it every quarter.

What is the filing due date for returns?

Returns must be postmarked by the US Post Office on or before the last day of the month following the close of each quarter. (Sec. 4.16.070). See TOT for more details.

 Do I still need to file a tax return even if I did not collect any rent during the quarter?

Yes. You must submit a tax return even if there were no rentals during the quarter (Sec 4.16.070). 

What if I sell or transfer or terminate operation of my business or rental?

A certificate holder must notify the County Tax Administrator in writing 30 days in advance of the sale or transfer date, to include the name and address of the purchaser or transferee. Send your notification to Placer County Administrative Services Department, Revenue Services Division, 10810 Justice Center Drive, Suite 100 Roseville, CA 95678 (Sec 4.16.080).

What do I do if I dispute a penalty and interest assessment by the County?

A certificate holder may request a waiver of penalties and interest by the Director of Administrative Services by submitting a written request to Revenue Services within seven (7) working days after notification. (Sec. 4.16.110)

What are my options if my appeal is denied?

Any operator aggrieved by any decision of the Director of Administrative Services with respect to the amount of such tax, interest and/or penalties, as assessed under the provisions of Section 4.16.080 or 4.16.090, may appeal to the County Executive Officer or his or her designee by filing a written notice of appeal within ten (10) working days of the mailing of the determination by the Director of Administrative Services.

What if my renter(s) states they are exempt from the tax?

In general, exemptions are not allowed except in a very few circumstances. Refer to the Code for more detail (Sec. 4.16.040).

How do I obtain a Transient Occupancy Tax certificate?

Complete an application form and submit it to Revenue Services (Sec. 4.16.060a).

Where do I display my new Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate?

Within sixty (60) days after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this article or within thirty (30) days after commencing business, whichever is later, each operator of any hotel renting occupancy to transients shall register such hotel with the tax administrator and obtain from him or her a “transient occupancy registration certificate” to be at all times posted in a conspicuous place on the premises (Sec. 4.16.060).

Where can I find a copy of the Uniform Transient Occupancy Tax Code?

The full tax code is available in the Placer County Code.

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