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Frequently Asked Questions - Transient Occupancy Tax

What is Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)?

Transient Occupancy  Tax (TOT) is a rental tax that is paid by the guest for short-term rentals within a period of thirty (30) consecutive calendar days or less. It is also known by names such as room tax, a use tax, a tourist tax, or hotel tax. The property owners / management companies must collect and remit the tax on the County’s behalf.  TOT is authorized under State Revenue and Taxation Code Section 7280 and Placer County Code 4.16.  TOT taxes paid by visitors help fund initiatives that benefit the County as a whole including public safety, transportation, libraries, public parks, infrastructure improvements, and historical and environmental preservation projects. 

What is my Transient Occupancy Tax Rate?

 The TOT 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 rental services?

Property owners / management companies are responsible for ensuring compliance with the County’s TOT Ordinance, including the collection and remittance of 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 remits all of your rental income and Transient Occupancy Tax, you do not need to file a return. You are responsible for their compliance with the County’s 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?

 Rent and fees include, but are not limited to, nightly rents, weekly rents, cleaning fees, pet fees, rollaway bed fees, late check-out fees and room upgrade fees.

Rent does not include items in a special package rate such as ski passes or other recreational activity subject to CA sales tax as long as the operator separately states the rent and tax from other amounts on all receipts and books of record.  

If additional benefits 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 return?

You must file it every quarter.


Quarter Quarter Ending Taxes Due By
Quarter 1 September 30 October 31
Quarter 2
December 31 January 31
Quarter 3
March 31 April 30
Quarter 4 June 30 July 31

Any operator that collects transient occupancy taxes in excess of four hundred thousand ($400,000) in a given fiscal year shall make remittance on a monthly basis in the succeeding fiscal year.

 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?

 Transient occupancy tax certificates are managed by the Revenue Services Division. You may complete a TOT application form online and submit it to the Revenue Services Division (Sec. 4.16.060a ).

Where do I display my new Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate?

 The certificate is to be posted at all times in a conspicuous place on the premises (Sec. 4.16.060 ) (i.e. to be viewable by the transient occupying a space in a hotel on the premises).

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

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