For Immediate ReleaseSeptember 26, 2013
Response ‘underwhelming’ to Transient Occupancy Tax amnesty
San Rafael, CA – The County of Marin is urging short-term lodging operators to take advantage of the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) Amnesty Program, which is being offered through the end of the year. Out of the 215 non-compliant operators that were notified two weeks ago, only 22 have returned the program response cards.
County Tax Collector Roy Given said, “We had hoped to receive more responses than the few that have come in thus far. The initial number of responses has been quite underwhelming.”
Amnesty is being offered to operators providing short-term accommodations of any type in the unincorporated areas of Marin. Short-term lodging is considered 30 days or less.
Homeowners who rent their properties on a short-term basis might not classify themselves in the same categories as hotels, motels or bed and breakfasts, but they must comply with the same taxation laws. Given said it is possible that some operators have deferred the payment of TOT revenue to a property management company, assuming that their business licenses and tax payments are being collected and remitted to the County on a regular basis. Ultimately, the property owner is responsible for collecting the tax from guests and for ensuring that property managers are complying with the ordinance.
Under Chapter 3.05 of the County’s Transient Occupancy Ordinance, all owners are required to register and collect the taxes on behalf of the County from tenants who stay less than 30 days. The importance of responding to the amnesty announcement is critical in avoiding overdue TOT revenue, potentially dating back to 2010.
“This is the chance to become compliant with the TOT ordinance without penalties and interest, which can be substantial,” Given said.
County staff is auditing operators for compliance on a continual basis. Anyone offering short-term lodging that is not already enrolled in the TOT and business license programs should contact the TOT hotline at (415) 473-6123 or go to www.marincounty.org/df/tot.
Roy GivenDIRECTORDEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Marin County Civic Center3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 225San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7000
CRS Dial 711