FAQ

Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)/SACRAMENTO TOURISM MARKETING DISTRICT ASSESSMENT (STMD) FAQs

 

WHAT IS TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAX?
The Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), also commonly known as “bed tax”, is authorized under State Revenue and Taxation Code Section 7280 and Sacramento County Ordinance 3.08. The tax of twelve percent (12%) of the rent/consideration charged to “transient” guests is an additional source of non-property tax revenue to local government.

 

WHO NEEDS TO COLLECT TOT?

Any operator of any structure, or any portion of any structure, which is occupied or intended or designed for occupancy by transients for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes, and includes any hotel, inn, tourist home or house, motel, studio, hotel, bachelor hotel, lodging house, rooming house, apartment house, dormitory, public of private club, mobile home, or house trailer at a fixed location, or other similar structure or portion thereof in the unincorporated area of the County of Sacramento are required to charge and collect the TOT of twelve percent (12%) of the rent charged to “transient” guests..

WHO IS A “TRANSIENT” GUEST?
Transient (guest) is any person who occupies a room for a period of less than thirty (30) consecutive calendar days, counting portions of calendar days as full days. (sec. 3.08.020.4 Definitions).

 

WHAT IF I AM A NEW HOTELIER/MOTEL/BED AND BREAKFAST/VACATION HOME RENTAL OPERATOR?
Prior to commencing operation of any establishment renting rooms, all operator /owners must obtain a General Business License. In addition to the license application form, each owner needs to file a Transient Occupancy Tax Registration form. Except owners of Home Rental Sites need to fila a Home Rental Registration Form.  The registration form will include such information as the number and rental rate of the rooms, the name and contact information for the owner(s) and management, and any other information deemed appropriate to the collection of the tax.

 

HOW DO I CALCULATE THE AMOUNT OF TAX DUE?
The amount of tax due is 12% of the room “rents” received in the applicable reporting period. “Rent” means the consideration charged whether to be received in money, goods, labor exchange, barter, or otherwise, including services of any kind or nature. If there is an additional charge for a room safe or other non-optional amenities these amounts should be included in the taxable room rate.

 

WHEN SHOULD THE OPERATOR COLLECT TOT?
Each operator/owner should collect the TOT at the time the rent is due from each guest. The amount of TOT shall be separately stated from the amount of the rent charged.

Home Rental Site operators that advertise through a property management company or with online service provider to rent your home or room(s) in your home for a short term vacation rental, collect the TOT as part of the amount charged for the rental listed with the company.

 

WHAT RECORD KEEPING IS REQUIRED?

Each operator/owner is required to keep and preserve, for a period of three years, all records as may be necessary to determine the amount of tax liable for the collection and remittance to the County.  The Tax Collector or his or her delegated representatives shall have the right to inspect such records at all reasonable times for audit purposes.

 

WHEN IS THE TOT DUE TO THE COUNTY?
Each operator/owner is required to file the TOT return together with payment for the tax collected to the Tax Collector on or before the last day of the month following the last day of the month for which the tax was collected. Example: The last day to file a TOT return for the reporting period of March is by April 30.
If the last day to file your TOT return falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, then your return must be postmarked or delivered to the Tax Collector office on or before 5:00 p.m. of the next business day.
The full amount of the tax collected together with any applicable penalties and interest shall be remitted to the Tax Collector at the time the return is filed.

 

I DID NOT HAVE ANY GUESTS DURING THE REPORTING PERIOD, OR ALL GUESTS HAVE STAYED OVER 30 CONSECUTIVE DAYS. DO I STILL NEED TO COMPLETE A RETURN?
Yes. Regardless of whether any qualified rents are received for the reporting period a return is required.  If you are operating and advertising rooms available for guests, you must file a zero return. 

 

I AM SELLING/BUYING A HOTEL WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
The prospective purchaser should notify the Tax Collector in writing of the sale or transfer date and request a Tax Clearance Certificate, include the name and address and phone number of the purchaser or transferee. If no Tax Clearance Certificate is issued or the tax that is due is not withheld for the county and paid in escrow then the purchaser shall be held liable for any unpaid tax owing on the property.
Returns and payments are due immediately upon sale and/or close of the business for any reason.
For any other changes such as contact information, address changes etc. complete and submit an updated TOT REGISTRATION FORM.

 

I AM NO LONGER GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN VACATION HOME RENTAL, WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
If you decide to stop renting your home or room(s) in your home for a short term vacation rental privately, through a property management company or with online service provider, notify the Tax Collector in writing.  Include any proof of closing your account/de-listing your property from the property Management Company or online service provider.

 

I MISPLACED MY TOT RETURN AND NEED A REPLACEMENT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Blank returns are available for download under FORMS.

 

WHERE DO I MAIL MY RETURN?
Sacramento County Tax Collector
Attn: RAS-TOT
700 H Street, Room 1710
Sacramento, CA 95814

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A LATE PAYMENT, NO PAYMENT OR INSUFFICIENT PAYMENT?
Any operator/owner who fails to remit the TOT within the time required will pay a penalty of ten percent (10%) in addition to the original amount of the TOT. The TOT is not considered paid if payment is not made for the entire amount owed. Partial payments may be returned or held in a suspense account until payment in full is received.  Partial payments are not credited to the TOT and all penalties and interest will accrue as if no payment had been received.
In addition to the penalties imposed, interest at the rate of one and one half percent (1.5%) per month or fraction thereof is imposed on the amount of the unpaid tax, exclusive of penalties, from the date on which the payment first became delinquent until paid.
If the payment remains delinquent thirty (30) days after the date on which the payment first became delinquent a second penalty of ten percent (10%) will be imposed, in addition to the amount of tax and the ten percent (10%) penalty first imposed.
The Code does not allow the Tax Collector to waive, cancel or reduce penalties and interest.

 

I AM THE TRANSIENT (GUEST), CAN I BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING THE TOT?
The TOT is a debt owed by the transient to the County.  Any tax collected by the operator which is not paid to the County is a debt owed by the operator.  However, if the operator fails to collect the TOT from the transient, any person, transient or operator, shall be liable for the TOT.

 

Sacramento Tourism and Marketing District

Assessment Rate by Geographic Area

Zone

General Geographic Area

Assessment Rate

1

Downtown Sacramento

3%

2

Point West/Cal Expo/Arden Area

2.5%

3

Natomas Area

2%

4

Balance of Unincorporated Area of County

1%


If you need help in determining which zone you are located in please contact our office.

The monthly STMD is due on or before the last day of the month following the last day of the month for which the assessment was collected. The STMD is due for the same period and at the same time as your TOT return and payment. Penalties will be imposed on any hotel operator who fails to remit the assessment by the due date. A penalty of ten percent (10%) of the tax due, plus interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per year simple interest shall accrue daily until the delinquency is paid in full.  If the delinquency is not paid within thirty (30) days, an additional ten percent (10%) penalty is added at the beginning of the second month of delinquency, in addition to the monthly interest.

Blank returns are available for download under FORMS.  

Operators of Home Rental Sites are not required to collect and remit the STMD.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TOT OR STMD ASSESSMENT 

Please contact Report and Account Services Unit of the Tax Collection and Licenses Division at 700 H Street, Room 1710, Sacramento, CA 95814 or phone (916) 874-7844.

For more details regarding TOT see Sacramento County Ordinance 3.08.

 

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