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What is the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)?

TOT is a tax collected from guests that occupy or have a right to occupy a living space or establishment for 30 days or less. TOT is currently computed at the rate of 8% of the Rent and must be collected by the Operator from the guest at the time of payment, whether or not received.

When is the Reporting Period?

The TOT must be reported and paid to the County by the Operator and is due within one calendar month of the close of each reporting period.

TOT reporting periods and payment schedule:

Reporting Period Payment Due Date (postmark date)
First Quarter July 1 – September 30 October 31
Second Quarter October 1 – December 31 January 31
Third Quarter January 1 – March 31 April 30
Fourth Quarter April 1 – June 30 July 31

When do Penalties and Interest Apply?

View the San Diego Transient Occupancy Tax Payment, Penalty and Interest Schedule.

What are the responsibilities of Operators?

Operators of establishments located within the unincorporated areas of San Diego County are responsible for a number of items dealing with the TOT. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Within 30 days of commencing business, register with the County Treasurer-Tax Collector;
  • Collect TOT from guests at time of stay;
  • Hold all taxes collected in trust for the County until the next reporting period when TOT is reported and remitted to the County;
  • Inform the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office when ceasing, transferring, or selling the business;
  • Keep business, accounting and guest folio records for a minimum of three (3) prior years.

How do I register as an Operator?

To register, complete and submit the Registration Form to the Treasurer-Tax Collector. The Registration Form is available on this website, and may be submitted to the County Treasurer-Tax Collector online, by mail, or by fax.


By Mail:

By Fax:

San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector
ATTN: Special Functions Division, TOT
1600 Pacific Highway, Room 162
San Diego, CA 92101-2486

(619) 685-2589
ATTN: Special Functions Division, TOT

What is Rent?

"Rent" is the regular amount charged for occupancy or the right to occupancy of a living space, whether or not received, and includes all mandatory charges for occupancy or right to occupancy at the establishment. This includes, but is not limited to, mandatory facility charges, roll-away bed charges, cleaning fees, pet fees, no show and cancellation fees, etc.

"Rent" is also the regular value of a room provided to a guest that receives a free or complimentary room that is not subject to exemption under section 22.204.

Will I receive a bill?

No. TOT is a self-reporting tax and is based upon the establishment's revenue.  TOT operators are required to complete a TOT Reporting Form to determine the amount of TOT due the County.  The form, along with payment, must be mailed to the Tax Collector by the last day of the month following the end of the reporting period.

How do I make a TOT payment?

TOT payments must be mailed to the Tax Collector’s office along with the TOT Reporting Form. Payments postmarked after the due date are considered late and subject to penalties. Mail payments to:

San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector
ATTN: Special Functions Division, TOT
1600 Pacific Highway, Room 162
San Diego, CA 92101-2486

How is Rent determined with Package Deals?

This is determined based on the Operator’s records to distinguish regular amount charged for occupancy or the right to occupancy of living space separately from other charges (e.g. food and beverages) that may be included in the package pricing.

How often are audits performed?

The Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office performs audits at regular intervals to ensure compliance with the TOT Ordinance. The TTC office also performs audits at change of ownership, change of name, or when business ceases operation.

Who is exempt from TOT?

No exemption shall be granted except upon a claim made at the time rent is collected, under penalty of perjury, and upon a form prescribed by the Tax Collector. It is the responsibility of the operator to adequately document the basis for the guest exemption from TOT for the following:

  1. By any person as to whom, or any occupancy as to which, it is beyond the power of the County to impose the tax in this chapter;
  2. By any federal or State of California officer or employee on official business;
  3. By any foreign government officer or employee exempt under federal law or international treaty;
  4. Where the regular rent is at the rate of four dollars per day or less;
  5. By any person who receives a free or complimentary room where the only consideration the operator receives is publicity value for the hotel (Sec. 22.204).

If a guest extends their stay within the first 30 days to more than 30 days, TOT is required from the start of the guest stay to the date that the guest and the Operator make a written agreement for the stay to extend beyond 30 days. Guest stays of more than 30 days are not subject to TOT.


These FAQs are presented for general guidance only. They do not provide specific advice about a particular set of facts and may not be relied upon as a defense to a complaint alleging any violation. Please refer to County of San Diego Code of Regulatory Ordinances, Chapter 2: Transient Occupancy Tax, for the applicable law.

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