Transient Occupancy Tax

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The City levies an 11% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) for the privilege of occupying any space where accommodations are offered for hire for periods of thirty (30) days or less. The tax is paid by the occupant and collected by the operator. The operator then remits the tax to the City.

If your property is subject to the TOT, you are required to register with the City within thirty (30) days of commencing business, and to file monthly TOT returns.




The new TOT online system will allow you to register your rental property, file your monthly return, and remit TOT collected from your guests.

To apply, go to the City’s Online Payments Web Page, click on Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT), then select Apply for TOT Certification.  [Please see below for printable forms if you are unable to use the online system.]

Residential Short-Term Rental (STR) Permit Required

The City’s Residential Short-Term Rental Ordinance (Municipal Code Section 24.12.1700 et seq.) was adopted by the City Council in October, 2017, and became effective with Coastal Commission approval in April, 2018.  These regulations provide a set of standards governing the renting or leasing of residential property on a short-term basis.

All residential short-term rental properties are required to obtain a STR Permit.  Existing owners/operators must apply no later than July 10, 2018.  A listing of active short-term rental properties with STR permits is available here.

If you have not submitted a new application for a TOT Registration Certificate and STR Permit by July 10, 2018, your TOT Registration Certificate will no longer be valid.  If you have submitted an application by the deadline, your current TOT Registration Certificate will be valid until your application has been processed.

You are required to remit TOT for any short-term rentals that have occurred, even if you are not eligible to continue short-term rental of your property.

For more information regarding your eligibility to apply for a STR Permit, please visit the City’s Short-Term Rentals web page, or call Alex Khoury, Assistant Director of Planning and Community Development, at (831) 420-5116.  Please note that:

  • Owners of existing (registered prior to September 26, 2017) NON-HOSTED STR’s and Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) properties with valid TOT Registration Certificates who wish to remain eligible as a “grandfathered” property MUST apply for an STR permit under the new ordinance no later than July 10, 2018.
  • Owners of existing HOSTED STR’s must apply by that date to maintain priority under the limit on hosted STR’s.
  • Properties with HOSTED STR’s registered after September 26, 2017, or any HOSTED STR’s applying after the deadline, will be considered on a first-come-first-served basis after the priority properties have been processed.

In addition, Accessory Dwelling Unit properties may not be converted to short-term/vacation rentals. [Municipal Code Section 24.16.140 (9)(e), amended per ordinance 2015-15, effective December, 2015]


If you are unable to use the online TOT system, following is a link to a fillable PDF application to print and submit (original document only, no faxes or E-mails):

TOT Return Forms
TOT Operators are required to file a TOT return every month.  If you are unable to do so using the City’s online system, please use the following fillable PDF form:


TOT Exemptions
Room occupancy is exempt from taxation for any federal officer or employee when on official business, and for certain officers or employees of foreign governments. For more information please refer to Santa Cruz Municipal Code Section 3.28.040.  To claim an exemption from the TOT, the guest and hotel operator must complete the TOT Certificate of Tax Exemption form at the time the rent is collected. Note: The TOT Certificate of Tax Exemption must be kept on file for at least four years, in case of audit.

Santa Cruz County Tourism Marketing District (SCCTMD)

Operating since July 1, 2010, the Santa Cruz County Tourism Marketing District (SCCTMD) is a benefit assessment district developed to help fund marketing and sales promotion efforts for the Santa Cruz County lodging businesses.  The SCCTMD includes all lodging businesses located within Santa Cruz County, in all of the incorporated cities as well as the unincorporated area.

To report TMD fees collected on behalf of the SCCTMD, the operators can use the form provided here:


If you have questions regarding the TOT or SCCTMD, please contact the Revenue Division of the Finance Department:
   Phone:  (831) 420-5070






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