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Business Tax Frequently Asked Questions

Who is liable for the City's Rental Unit Business Tax?

The Rental Unit Business Tax is assessed annually on a calendar year basis upon anyone who owns, operates, or manages the rental of any residential real estate or portion of. Residential real estate includes single family residences, multiple family residences, mobile homes, trailers, apartments, bungalows, hotels, motels, and any property advertised or otherwise held out for lease or rent for more than six days during the calendar year.

My property is not being rented, what do I do?

If the property being billed is not being rented, complete and return the exemption form included with your billing statement. The exemption form can also be downloaded by visiting the following website http://www.sandiego.gov/treasurer/taxesfees/btax/rtaxexemptions.shtml

A Rental Unit Business Tax billing statement is mailed to property owners not having a Homeowner's Exemption on file with the County of San Diego Assessor. Property owners without a Homeowner's Exemption on file with the county are presumed to be renting. See San Diego Municipal Code PDF icon §31.0305(h).

Property owners who have been granted a Homeowner exemption by the County and rent their residence or portion of are liable for the City's Rental Unit Business Tax. Contact the Treasurer's Office at (619) 615-1545 for questions.

The Rental Unit Business Tax Exemption form requires proof of residency in order to qualify for the owner occupied exemption. What is considered acceptable proof of residence?

Proof of residence may be any of the following, provided that it shows the owner/family membername and site address as the owner/family member mailing address: mailing label from a magazine, DMV registration, payment coupon (return portion) from any of the following SDG&E, phone, cable, water and sewer bill etc.

I previously paid the Rental Unit Business Tax during the calendar year and I received another statement. What should I do?

In the event that you receive a duplicate billing statement, individuals should contact the Treasurer's Office at (619) 615-1545 or via email at [email protected] to correct. Updates with the County Assessor could result in a duplicate Rental Unit Business Tax billing statement. Examples that may trigger an additional billing statement include refinancing your loan and changing ownership to a trust.

Are Rental Unit Business Taxes prorated?

No. The City of San Diego's Rental Unit Business Tax is a flat tax imposed on every person conducting, operating, managing or renting any residential real estate. See San Diego Municipal Code PDF icon §31.0305(h)

Will I receive a billing statement each year?

Billing statements are mailed annually beginning in December to the mailing address on file. If the billing statement is not received by February 1st of a given year, individuals should contact the Treasurer's Office at (619) 615-1545 or via email at [email protected]   Failure to receive a notice or bill shall not affect the validity of any fee or penalty due hereunder, or the duty of such person to pay required taxes.

Can I make my payment online?

Yes, payments can be made online by visiting the following website https://Pay.sandiego.gov/BTaxRTaxPay/Login.aspx .

I rent my personal residence (or portion of). Other than Rental Unit Business Taxes, is there any other tax or fee that I need to remit to the City?

If you rent to Transients for less than one month, you are responsible for collecting and remitting the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and Tourism Marketing District (TMD) assessment to the City and therefore need a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate. Examples of lodging businesses subject to the TOT and TMD assessment include:

  • Hotel and Motel
  • Short-Term and Vacation rentals of any kind (i.e. houses condos, rooms, or spaces) rented directly by the owner/operator, property management companies, or via internet travel services
  • Recreational Vehicle (RV) Parks and Campgrounds

If you are unsure whether this applies to you, please contact TOT/TMD administration at (619) 615-1530 or [email protected]


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