Transient occupancy tax violators could see tax liens under new rules

08/08/2018

Marin County is now better equipped to collect the transit occupancy tax, after the Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to amend county code. The original ordinance governing the T.O.T., passed in 1966, didn't address the issue of failures to pay the tax, so the county has had to go to court in order to collect their fees. A new amendment to the T.O.T. enforcement ordinance will allow the tax collector to impose a tax lien on landlords and businesses that fail to pay, thus saving the time and money that going to court requires. It garnered the support of hoteliers and inn owners, who have long complained that short-term rentals easily evade paying the T.O.T. Because Airbnb remits the T.O.T. in one check made out monthly, the county struggles to identify which individuals have paid the tax. The county will use a third-party company, Host Compliance, to collect the names and addresses of short-term rental hosts and cross-check the monthly T.O.T. bill. The amendment “is going to be a way to manage and regulate this growing industry while still preserving our residential community,” Supervisor Judy Arnold said. The director of the Department of Finance, Roy Given, said the new ordinance will “make it a fair playing field for all those that are currently paying taxes and those who are not conforming as they should.”