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Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)/Tourism Marketing District (TMD)

TOT Frequently Asked Questions

By Facility Operators

How do I apply for a certificate number?

Complete and submit the Application for Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate (PDF). General instructions are provided in the application.

Is the Internet amenity taxable?

No, the Internet amenity is not taxable. Examples of taxable items include cribs, energy surcharges, movies, roll-away beds, and video games. For additional information, please refer to the TOT General Information section.

How can I determine if my short-term guest is exempt?

The guest must provide official government business travel orders and a qualifying picture ID. You can verify if their government agency is listed on LSU Libraries Federal Agency Directory. You may also find the TOT Exemption Chart (PDF) helpful.

How do I cancel my certificate number?

Send us a signed letter stating the need to cancel your certificate number. Include the last day of business and new owner information, if applicable.

As a seasonal facility, do I have to remit a return for each property?

No, seasonal facilities do not have to remit a separate return for each property they manage. Seasonal facilities may elect to remit their return information on a summary return (sample summary return (PDF) or (sample summary return (EXCEL)). Please ensure the summary return includes monthly totals per property and the corresponding TOT certificate numbers.

How do I remit my TOT/TMD return?

There are three ways to pay: online, by mail, or in person.

Can TOT and TMD be combined on the guest folio (as 11.05% for example) and reported as a combined total to the City?

No. TMD is an assessment levied on the Operator of the lodging business. This assessment may be passed onto the guest but must be shown as a separate line item on the folio. TOT and the TMD assessment must also be reported separately on the monthly return submitted to the City.

By Guests

Is the Internet amenity taxable?

No, the Internet amenity is not taxable. Examples of taxable items include cribs, energy surcharges, movies, roll-away beds, and video games. For additional information, please refer to the TOT General Information section.

How do I qualify as a tax exempt guest?

Guests staying longer than a calendar month are exempt from TOT. Federal government employees and their instrumentalities on official government business are also exempt. In addition, State of California employees on official government business may also be exempt, certain restrictions apply. To determine your exemption status, please refer to the LSU Libraries Federal Agency Directory and our TOT Exemption Chart (PDF).

Disclaimer

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 Article 5: Transient Occupancy Tax code (PDF) and/or Article 1, Division 25: San Diego Tourism Marketing District Procedural Ordinance (PDF) of the San Diego Municipal Code for the applicable law.