Lodging operators in unincorporated Marin County are being offered an amnesty opportunity to come into compliance with the County’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) program.
A TOT and Business License Amnesty Program was approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 10 and is set to begin Oct. 1. Short-term lodging businesses have until the end of the year to take advantage of new amnesty provisions. The amnesty program excuses TOT that should have been collected by the operator from lodging guests prior to Oct. 31, 2013.
Services such as fire protection, public safety, emergency services and transportation are elevated by tourism. Environmental impacts to parks and recreational areas and increased demands on water resources and sanitation systems are also substantial. Transient Occupancy Tax is a mechanism for recovering the cost of providing these services directly from those who benefit from them: the visitors.
Revenue from TOT mitigates the impacts of tourism and to support tourism-friendly projects that benefit the County as a whole. Public parks, historical and environmental preservation and improvements to infrastructure are some of the benefits enjoyed by Marin communities and funded in part by tax.
Amnesty announcements will be mailed to non-compliant operators this week, according Marin County Director of Finance Roy Given. “TOT is not a tax on the business operator,” he said. “It is collected by the operator from the transient occupant and remitted to the County.”
Businesses that provide short-term accommodations including vacation rentals, cabins and retreats must comply with the County's TOT and Business License requirements. 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 the Finance Department’s website for more information.