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County seeking to improve compliance and collection of lodging taxes

June 08, 2016

There are nearly 4,000 lodging operators in Placer County registered to collect transient occupancy tax on overnight lodging.

However, insufficient staffing and the sheer number of lodging operators prevent the county from conducting timely and frequent record reviews.

On Tuesday, the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a contract with MuniServices of Fresno to assist with conducting more frequent inspections of records, ensuring lodging operators are complying with the requirement.

The initial contract awarded to MuniServices is for $175,000 and payments are based on the recovery of unreported or underreported TOT revenues. In fiscal year 2015, the county collected nearly $14 million in TOT.

“Revenue from TOT is critical to the public services we provide and we need to make sure everyone is following the rules,” said District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, whose district encompasses Placer County’s eastern end. “My hope is that increased compliance with the program will encourage more vacation rental owners to consider making their properties available as longer-term rentals, increasing the housing stock and helping with housing affordability throughout the county.”

Taxes paid by visitors help fund services benefitting the entire county including public infrastructure projects and tourism marketing and promotion, but are also used for public safety, transportation, libraries, parks and historical and environmental preservation projects. TOT must be collected not just by traditional lodging providers like hotels but also by those who provide lodging through internet-based services like Airbnb, Homeaway and Vacation Rentals By Owner.

While the overwhelming majority of property managers pay their TOT, the county wants to ensure all properties are in compliance.

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