CHAPTER 4.24
TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAX1

4.24.010 Short title.

This chapter shall be known as the "Uniform Transient Occupancy Tax Law" of the city. (Ord. 781 NCS § 1: prior code §23.13.)

4.24.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section:

A.    "Campground" means the area or place used for a camp, for camping or for a camp meeting.

B.    "Hotel" means any structure or any portion of any structure which is occupied or intended or designed for occupancy by transients for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes and includes any hotel, inn, tourist home or house, motel, studio hotel, bachelor hotel, lodging house, rooming house, apartment house, dormitory, public or private club, mobile home or house trailer at a fixed location or other similar structure or portion thereof.

C.    "Occupancy" means the use or possession or the right to the use or possession of any room or rooms or portions thereof in any hotel for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes. "Occupancy" shall also mean the use or possession or the right to the use or possession of any campsite in a campground for recreational vehicles or tents.

D.    "Operator" means the person who is proprietor of the hotel, or campground, whether in the capacity of owner, lessee, sublessee, mortgagee in possession, licensee or any other capacity. Where the operator performs his functions through a managing agent of any type or character other than an employee, the managing agent shall also be deemed an operator for the purposes of this article and shall have the same duties and liabilities as his principal. Compliance with the provisions of this chapter by either the principal or the managing agent shall, however, be considered to be compliance by both.

E.    "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.

F.    "Rent" means the consideration charged, whether or not received, for the occupancy of a space in a hotel or campground, 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.

G.    "Tax administrator" means the tax collector.

H.    "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 thirty consecutive calendar days or less, counting portions of calendar days as full days. Any such persons so occupying space in a hotel or campground shall be deemed to be a transient until the period of thirty days has expired unless there is an agreement in writing between the operator and the occupancy 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 article may be considered.

(Ord. 1702 NCS §1, 1987: Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.14.)

4.24.030 Amount—Payment.

For the privilege of occupancy in any hotel or private campground, each transient is subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of ten percent of the rent charged by the operator as of November 5, 1990. Such tax constitutes a debt owed by the transient to the city which is extinguished only by payment to the operator of the hotel or campground 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 or campground. If for any reason the tax due is not paid to the operator of the hotel or campground, the tax administrator may require that such tax shall be paid directly to the tax administrator. (Ord. 1829 NCS §1, 1990: Ord. 1702 NCS §2, 1987: Ord. 1691 NCS §1, 1987: Ord. 1583B NCS §1, 1984: Ord. 1001 NCS §1: Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.15)

4.24.040 Exemptions.

The following persons are exempt from the tax imposed in this chapter:

A.    Any person as to whom or any occupancy as to which it is beyond the power of the city to impose the tax herein provided;

B.    Any officer or employee of a foreign government who is exempt by reason of express provision of federal law or international treaty.

No exemption shall be granted except under a claim therefor made at the time rent is collected and under penalty of perjury under a form prescribed by the tax administrator. (Ord. 1001 NCS §2: Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.16.)

4.24.050 Collection—Payment requirements—Advertising prohibited.

Each operator shall collect the tax imposed by this chapter. To the same extent and at the same time as the rent is collected from every transient. The amount of tax shall be separately stated from the amount of the rent charged, and each transient shall receive a receipt for payment from the operator. No operator of a hotel or campground shall 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. (Ord. 1702 NCS §3, 1987: Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.17.)

4.24.060 Transient occupancy registration certificate.

Within thirty days after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter or within thirty days after commencing business, whichever is later, each operator of any hotel or campground renting occupancy to transients shall register such hotel or campground with the tax administrator and obtain from him/her a "transient occupancy registration certificate" to be at all times posted in a conspicuous place on the premises. Such certificate shall, among other things, state the following:

A.    The name of the operator,

B.    The address of the hotel or campground;

C.    The date upon which the certificate was issued;

D.    "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 Administrator for the purpose of collecting from transients the Transient Occupancy Tax and remitting said tax to the Tax Administrator. 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, or campground without strictly complying with all local applicable laws, including but not limited to those requiring a permit from any board, commission, department or office of this City. This certificate does not constitute a permit."

(Ord. 1702 NCS §4, 1987: Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.18.)

4.24.070 Reports and remittances.

Each operator, shall, within fifteen days of the end of the previous month, provide a report to the tax administrator of the total rents charged and received and the amount of tax collected for transient occupancies during the previous month. At the time the report is filed, the full amount of the tax collected shall be remitted to the tax administrator. If the full amount of tax collected the previous month is not remitted to the tax administrator within fifteen days of the end of the previous month, all or a portion of tax not remitted shall be delinquent and subject to penalties and interest. The tax administrator may establish a different reporting and delinquency period for any certificate holder if deemed necessary in order to insure collection of the tax and may require further information in return. Returns and payments are due immediately upon cessation of business for any reason. All taxes collected by the operators pursuant to this chapter shall be held in trust for the account of the city until payment thereof is made to the tax administrator. (Ord. 1829 NCS §2: Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.19.)

4.24.080 Failure to remit tax—Original delinquency.

Any operator who fails to remit any tax imposed by this article within the time required shall pay a penalty of ten percent of the amount of the tax in addition to the amount of the tax. (Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.20(a).)

4.24.090 Continued delinquency.

Any operator who fails to remit any delinquent remittance on or before a period of thirty days following the date on which the remittance first became delinquent shall pay a second delinquency penalty of ten percent of the amount of the tax in addition to the amount of the tax and the ten percent penalty first imposed. (Ord. 781 NCS § 1: prior code §23.20(b).)

4.24.100 Fraud.

If the tax administrator determines that the nonpayment of any remittance due under this article is due to fraud, a penalty of twenty-five percent of the amount of the tax shall be added thereto in addition to the penalties stated in Sections 4.24.080 and 4.24.090. (Ord. 781 NCS § 1: prior code §23.20(c).)

4.24.110 Interest.

In addition to the penalties imposed, any operator who fails to remit any tax imposed by this chapter 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. (Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.20(d).)

4.24.120 Penalties merged with tax.

Every penalty imposed and such interest as accrues under the provisions of Sections 4.24.080 through 4.24.110 shall become a part of the tax required in this chapter to be paid. (Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.20(e).)

4.24.130 Failure to collect tax—Action.

If any operator fails or refuses to collect such tax and to make, within the time provided in this chapter, any report and remittance of such tax or any portion thereof required by this chapter, the tax administrator shall proceed in such manner as he may deem best to obtain facts and information on which to base his estimate of the tax due. As soon as the tax administrator shall procure such facts and information as he is able to obtain upon which to base the assessment of any tax imposed by this chapter 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 by this chapter. In case such determination is made, the tax administrator shall give a notice of the amount so assessed by serving it personally or by depositing it in the United States mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the operator so assessed at his last-known place of address. Such operator may within ten days after the serving or mailing of such notice make application in writing to the tax administrator for a hearing on the amount 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 administrator shall become final and conclusive and immediately due and payable. If such application is made, the tax administrator 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 such notice why such 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 administrator 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 fifteen days unless an appeal is taken as provided in Section 4.24.140. (Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.21.)

4.24.140 Appeal from determination of tax administrator.

Any operator aggrieved by any decision of the tax administrator with respect to the amount of such tax, interest and penalties, if any, may appeal to the city council by filing a notice of appeal with the city clerk within fifteen days of the serving or mailing of the determination of tax due. The city council shall fix a time and place for hearing such appeal, and the city clerk shall give notice in writing to such operator at his last-known place of address. The findings of the city council shall be final and conclusive and shall be served upon the appellant in the manner prescribed above for service of notice of hearing. Any amount found to be due shall be immediately due and payable upon the service of notice. (Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.22.)

4.24.150 Preservation of records—Inspection.

It shall be the duty of every operator liable for the collection and payment to the city of any tax imposed by this article to keep and preserve, for a period of three years, all records as may be necessary to determine the amount of such tax as he may have been liable for the collection of and payment to the city, which records the tax administrator shall have the right to inspect at all reasonable times. (Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.23.)

4.24.160 Refunds generally.

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 city under this article, it may be refunded as provided in Sections 4.24.170 and 4.24.180; provided, a claim in writing therefor, stating under penalty of perjury the specific grounds upon which the claim is founded, is filed with the tax administrator within three years of the date of payment. The claim shall be on forms furnished by the tax administrator. (Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.24(a).)

4.24.170 Claiming refund or credit.

An operator may claim a refund or take as credit against taxes collected and remitted 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 administrator that the person from whom the tax has been collected was not a transient; provided, however, that neither a refund nor a credit shall be allowed unless 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. (Ord. 781 NCS § 1: prior code §23.24(b).)

4.24.180 Transient refund.

A transient may obtain a refund of taxes overpaid or paid more than once or erroneously or illegally collected or received by the city by filing a claim in the manner provided in Section 4.24.160, but only when the tax was paid by the transient directly to the tax administrator or when the transient, having paid the tax to the operator, established to the satisfaction of the tax administrator that the transient has been unable to obtain a refund from the operator who collected the tax. (Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.24(c).)

4.24.190 Right to refund.

No refund shall be paid under the provisions of Sections 4.24.160 through 4.24.180 unless the claimant establishes his right thereto by written records showing entitlement thereto. (Ord. 781 NCS § 1: prior code §23.24(d).)

4.24.200 Action to collect tax.

Any tax required to be paid by any transient under the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a debt owned by the transient to the city. Any such tax collected by an operator which has not been paid to the city shall be deemed a debt owed by the operator to the city. Any person owing money to the city under the provisions of this chapter shall be liable to an action brought in the name of the city for the recovery of such amount. (Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.25.)

4.24.210 Violation of chapter deemed misdemeanor.

Any operator or other person who fails or refuses to register as required in this chapter or to furnish any return required to be made or who fails or refuses to furnish a supplemental return or other data required by the tax administrator or who renders a false or fraudulent return or claim is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any person required to make, render, sign or verify any report or claim who makes any false or fraudulent report or claim with intent to defeat or evade the determination of any amount due required by this chapter to be made, is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ord. 781 NCS §1: prior code §23.26.)

4.24.220 Disposition of revenues.

All fees and revenues collected pursuant to the authority of this article shall be used for such promotional purposes as the council shall find will contribute to the growth, enlargement and prosperity of the city and will forward, encourage, advance, help, aid and assist in the growth, enlargement and prosperity of the city. The moneys collected hereunder by the city shall be used only for the purposes as set forth in this section, and the city may place the moneys collected in a separate fund earmarked only for the purposes as set forth in this section. (Ord. 787 NCS §2: prior code §23.27.)


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Editor’s Note: For statutory provisions authorizing cities to impose a tax on transients who occupy room space within the city limits see Rev. and Tax. Code §§7280, 7281.