For Immediate ReleaseNovember 16, 2018
Tax Collector moves ahead with compliance initiatives to enforce ordinance
San Rafael, CA – The rapid rise in online vacation rental platforms, like Airbnb, VRBO, and Home Away, is causing an increase in the number of homes offered as short-term rentals. The online platforms do not share that rental information with public agencies, making it hard for the Marin County Tax Collector to know if a property is being used as a short-term rental and if the operator is collecting the required Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).
The County of Marin recently hired Host Compliance to monitor more than 25 websites to identify non-compliant short-term rental operators. Approximately 500 short-term rentals were located in the unincorporated areas of Marin that are not in compliance with the County’s TOT ordinance. Tax Collector Roy Given is allowing those operators a limited time to voluntarily comply as part of a broader TOT Compliance Initiative.
Notices from the Tax Collector outlining specific TOT requirements are being mailed to all identified non-compliant operators. The first notice will provide a limited time to respond with payment for prior tax periods. The final notice will advise the operator that a tax lien based on an assessed balance will be filed against the responsible parties.
In 2013, Given offered a TOT amnesty program to non-compliant operators, giving them three months to take advantage of the amnesty provisions. Operators who were offered amnesty but did not comply during the amnesty period could face a compliance audit and may be assessed penalties retroactively for up to three years.
More than 800 TOT operators in Marin County were invited to attend a TOT workshop November 14 hosted by the Tax Collector staff at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael. Those who attended the workshop learned how to register as an operator and report TOT using the Tax Collector’s new online service. They received answers to questions relating to TOT and short-term rentals. Some who attended did not realize that Airbnb has been collecting and sending TOT directly to the County since March 2017 or that local operators using Airbnb still must register and report their rental activity to the Tax Collector to receive credit for the tax.
TOT is collected from the guest by the operator on behalf of the County. The revenue generated by TOT is used to support programs and projects that benefit the entire county. Public parks, historical and environmental preservation and improvements to infrastructure are some of the benefits enjoyed by Marin communities and funded in part by TOT.
Learn more at these online locations:
Roy GivenDIRECTORDEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
Marin County Civic Center3501 Civic Center DriveSuite 225San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7000
CRS Dial 711