DIVISION 11. – UNIFORM TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAX
Chapter 1. - General
Article 1. - General Provisions
Sec. 11111 - Title
This Division shall be known as the uniform transient occupancy tax ordinance.
Article 2. – Definitions
Sec. 11121 - Construction
Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions in this Article shall govern the construction of this Division.
Sec. 11122 - Person
"Person" means any individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, social club, fraternal organization, joint stock company, corporation, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, trustee, syndicate, or any other group or combination acting as a unit.
Sec. 11123 - Hotel
"Hotel" means any commercial establishment, or any portion of any commercial establishment, which provides for the occupancy of transients for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes, whether by the day, week or month, and includes any hotel, inn, motel or commercial establishment of similar nature.
Sec. 11124 - Occupancy
"Occupancy" means the use or possession, or the right to the use or possession of any room or rooms or portion thereof, in any hotel for dwelling, lodging, or sleeping purposes.
Sec. 11125 - Transient
"Transient" means any person who exercises occupancy or is entitled to occupancy by reason of concession, permit, right of access, license or other agreement for a period of 30 consecutive calendar days or less, counting portions of calendar days as full days. Any such person so occupying space in a hotel shall be deemed to be a transient until the period of 30 days has expired unless there is an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy. In determining whether a person is a transient, uninterrupted periods of time extending both prior and subsequent to the effective date of this ordinance may be considered.
Sec. 11126 - Rent
"Rent" means the consideration charged, whether or not received, for the occupancy of space in a hotel valued in money, whether to be received in money, goods, labor or otherwise, including all receipts, cash, credits and property and services of any kind or nature, without any deduction therefrom whatsoever.
Sec. 11127 - Operator
"Operator" means the person who is proprietor of the hotel, whether in the capacity of owner, lessee, sub lessee, mortgagee in possession, licensee, or any other capacity. Where the operator performs his functions through a managing agent or of any type or character other than an employee, the managing agent shall also be deemed an operator for the purposes of this Division and shall have the same duties and liabilities as his principal. Compliance with the provisions of this Division by either the principal or the managing agent shall, however, be considered to be compliance by both.
Sec. 11128 - Tax collector
"Tax collector" means the tax collector of the County of Ventura.
Chapter 2. - Specific Provisions
Article 1. - Imposition of Tax
Sec. 11211 - Tax imposed
Commencing July 1, 1978, for the privilege of occupancy in any hotel in the unincorporated area of Ventura County, each transient is subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of eight percent of the rent charged by the operator. This tax constitutes a debt owed by the transient to the County which is extinguished only by payment to the operator or to the County.
(Am. Ord. 3384—6/27/78)
Sec. 11212 - Payment by transient
The transient shall pay the tax to the operator of the hotel at the time the rent is paid. If the rent is paid in installments, a proportionate share of the tax shall be paid with each installment. The unpaid tax shall be due upon the transient's ceasing to occupy space in the hotel. If for any reason the tax due is not paid to the operator of the hotel, the tax collector may require the transient to pay such tax directly to the tax collector.
Sec. 11215 - Operator's duties
Each operator shall collect the tax imposed by this Division to the same extent and at the same time as the rent is collected from every transient. The amount of the tax shall be separately stated from the amount of the rent charged, and each transient shall receive a receipt for payment from the operator. The operator of a hotel shall not advertise or state in any manner, whether directly or indirectly, that the tax or any part thereof will be assumed or absorbed by the operator, or that it will not be added to the rent, or that, if added, any part will be refunded except in the manner hereinafter provided.
Sec. 11216 - Records
Every operator liable for the collection and payment to the County of any tax imposed by this Division shall keep and preserve, for not less than three years, all records which may be necessary to determine the amount of such tax as he may have been liable for the collection of and payment to the County. The tax collector may inspect these records at any reasonable time. The operator shall make such records available at any reasonable time requested by the tax collector.
Article 2. - Registration
Sec. 11221 - Operator must register
Within 30 days after the effective date of this Division, or within 30 days after commencing business, whichever is later, each operator of any hotel renting occupancy to transients shall register the hotel with the tax collector. Upon such registration the tax collector shall issue to such operator a "Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate."
Sec. 11222 - Posting of certificate
The operator shall post, and at all times keep posted, in a conspicuous place on the premises of the hotel, the Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate.
Sec .11223 - Contents of certificate
The Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate shall, among other things, state the following:
"This Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate signifies that the person named on the face hereof has fulfilled the requirements of the Uniform Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance by registering with the tax collector for the purpose of collecting from transients the Transient Occupancy Tax and remitting said tax to the tax collector. This certificate does not authorize any person to conduct any unlawful business or to conduct any lawful business in an unlawful manner, nor to operate a hotel without strictly complying with all the local applicable laws, including but not limited to those requiring a permit from any board, commission, department or office of this County. This Certificate does not constitute a permit."
Article 3. - Reporting and Remitting
Sec. 11231 - Operator must report
Each operator, on or before the last day of the month following the close of the calendar quarter, or at the close of any other reporting period which may be established by the tax collector, shall make a return to the tax collector, on forms provided by him, of the total rents charged and received and the amount of the tax collected for transient occupants.
Sec. 11232 - Payment of tax
At the time the return is filed, the operator shall remit the full amount of the tax collected to the tax collector. The tax collector may establish shorter, longer, or other reporting periods for any certificate holder if he deems it necessary or expedient in order to insure collection of the tax. The tax collector may require further information in the return. Returns and payments are due immediately upon cessation of business for any reason.
Sec. 11233 - Taxes held in trust
Every operator shall hold in trust for the account of the County until payment thereof is made to the tax collector, all taxes collected by such operator.
Article 4. - Penalties and Interest
Sec. 11241 - Original delinquency
Any operator who fails to remit any tax imposed by this ordinance within the time required shall pay a penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the tax in addition to the amount of the tax.
Sec. 11242 - Continued delinquency
Any operator who fails to remit any delinquent remittance on or before a period of 30 days following the date on which the remittance first became delinquent shall pay a second delinquency penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the tax in addition to the amount of the tax and the 10 percent penalty first imposed.
Sec. 11243 – Fraud
If the tax collector determines that the nonpayment of any remittance due under this Division is due to fraud, a penalty of 25 percent of the amount of the tax shall be added thereto in addition to the penalties stated in Sections 11241 and 11242.
Sec. 11244 – Interest
In addition to the penalties imposed, any operator who fails to remit any tax imposed by this Division shall pay interest at the rate of one-half of one percent per month or fraction thereof on the amount of the tax, exclusive of penalties, from the date on which the remittance first became delinquent until paid.
Sec. 11245 - Penalties merged with tax
Every penalty imposed and such interest as accrues under the provisions of this Article shall become a part of the tax herein required to be paid.
Article 5. - Failure to Collect and Report Tax
Sec. 11251 - Determination by tax collector
If any operator shall fail or refuse to collect the tax and to make, within the time provided in this Division, any report and remittance of the tax or any portion thereof required by this Division, the tax collector shall proceed in such manner as he may deem best to obtain facts and information upon which to base his estimate of the tax due. As soon as the tax collector shall procure such facts and information as he is able to obtain upon which to base the assessment of any tax imposed by this Division and payable by any operator who has failed or refused to collect the same and to make such report and remittance, he shall proceed to determine and assess against such operator the tax, interest and penalties provided for in this Division.
Sec. 11252 – Notice
If the tax collector makes a determination pursuant to this Article, he shall give a notice of the amount so assessed, either by serving such notice personally or by depositing it in the United States mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the operator so assessed at his last known place of business.
Sec. 11253 - Application for hearing
Within 10 days after the serving upon any operator of such notice, such operator may apply in writing to the tax collector for a hearing on the amount assessed. If application by the operator for a hearing is not made within the time assessed. If application by the operator for a hearing is not made within the time prescribed, the tax, interest, and penalties, if any, determined by the tax collector shall become final and conclusive and immediately due and payable.
Sec. 11254 - Hearing by tax collector
If such application is made, the tax collector shall give not less than five days written notice in the manner prescribed herein to the operator to show cause at a time and place fixed in the notice why the amount specified therein should not be fixed for such tax, interest, and penalties. At such hearing, the operator may appear and offer evidence why such specified tax, interest, and penalties should not be so fixed. After such hearing, the tax collector shall determine the proper tax to be remitted and shall thereafter give written notice to the person in the manner prescribed herein of such determination and the amount of such tax, interest, and penalties. The amount determined to be due shall be payable after 15 days unless an appeal is taken as provided in Article 6 of this Chapter.
Article 6. - Appeal
Sec. 11261 - Notice of appeal
Any operator deeming himself aggrieved by any decision of the tax collector with respect to the amount of the tax, interest, and penalties, if any, may appeal to the board by filing a notice of appeal with the clerk of the board within 15 days of the serving or mailing of the determination of the tax due.
Sec. 11262 - Notice of hearing
Upon the filing of a notice of appeal, the board shall fix a time and place for hearing such appeal and the clerk of the board shall give not less than five days’ notice in writing, either personally or by United States mail, postage prepaid.
Sec. 11263 - Conduct of hearing
At the time set for the hearing or at the date to which the hearing may be continued by the board, the board shall hear the appellant and any other competent witnesses and decide whether the determination of the tax collector was correct or not, and, if not, what tax, interest, or penalties, if any, are due to the County from the appellant. The board may place any witnesses, including the appellant, under oath.
Sec. 11264 - Decision on appeal
The board shall determine from the evidence what tax, interest, or penalties, if any, are due to the County from the appellant. This decision shall be final and conclusive. The clerk of the board shall serve a copy of the decision upon the appellant as provided in Section 11262. Any amount due shall be immediately due and payable upon the service of the notice.
Article 7. - Refunds
Sec. 11271 - Filing of claim
Whenever the amount of any tax, interest, or penalty has been overpaid or paid more than once or has been erroneously or illegally collected or received by the County under this Division, the operator so paying may have such amount applied to subsequent taxes due or it may be refunded as provided in this Article if, within three years after the date of payment, the operator files with the tax collector in writing a claim therefore. In such claim the operator shall state, under penalty of perjury, the specific grounds and specific facts upon which the claim is founded. The claims shall be on forms furnished by the tax collector.
Sec. 11272 - Credit to operator
An operator may take as credit against subsequent taxes the amount overpaid, paid more than once or erroneously or illegally collected or received when it is established in a manner prescribed by the tax collector that the person from whom the tax was collected was not a transient and that the amount of the tax so collected has either been refunded to the transient or credited to rent subsequently payable by the transient to the operator.
Sec. 11273 - Refund to operator
When an operator establishes a right to a credit as provided in this Article and also shows to the satisfaction of the tax collector either that he no longer is operating a hotel in the unincorporated area of the County or will cease such operation before the credit can be applied, and files a proper claim therefore, in lieu of such credit the County shall refund to such operator the amount overpaid, paid more than once or erroneously or illegally collected or received.
Sec. 11274 - Refund to guest
A transient or other guest of a hotel may obtain a refund of taxes overpaid or paid more than once or erroneously or illegally collected or received by the County by filing a claim in the manner provided in Section 11271, if the tax was paid by the transient or other guest directly to the tax collector, or if the transient or other guest has paid the tax to the operator, and establishes to the satisfaction of the tax collector that the transient or other guest has been unable to obtain a refund from the operator who collected the tax.
Sec. 11275 - Written records
A refund shall not be paid pursuant to this Article unless the claimant establishes his right thereto by written records showing that he is entitled thereto.
Chapter 3. - Enforcement
Article 1. - Civil Action
Sec. 11311 - Tax deemed debt
Any tax required to be paid by any transient under the provisions of this Division shall be deemed a debt owed by the transient to the County. Any such tax collected by an operator which has not been paid to the County shall be deemed a debt owed by the operator to the County.
Sec. 11312 - Actions to collect
Any person owing money to the County under the provisions of this Division shall be liable to an action brought in the name of the County of Ventura for the recovery of such amount.
Article 2. - Violations
Sec. 11321 – Misdemeanor
Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who:
Sec. 11322 – Punishment
Violation of any provision of this Division is punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment in the County Jail for not more than six months or by both such fine and imprisonment.