Chapter 3.30
PARKING LOT TAX*

*    Editor’s Note: Pursuant to Section 2 of Ordinance 84-51, the tax rate established herein shall be effective as of July 11, 1984.

Sections:

3.30.010    Title.

3.30.020    Definitions.

3.30.030    Tax imposed.

3.30.035    Repealed by Ord. 86-53 § 2.

3.30.040    Exemptions.

3.30.050    Operator’s duties.

3.30.060    Registration.

3.30.070    Reporting and remitting.

3.30.080    Penalties and interest.

3.30.090    Failure to collect and report tax – Determination of tax by director of finance.

3.30.100    Appeal.

3.30.110    Records.

3.30.120    Refunds.

3.30.130    Actions to collect.

3.30.140    Successors’, assignees’ responsibility.

3.30.150    Penalty for violations.

3.30.010 TITLE.

This chapter shall be known as the “Parking Lot Tax Ordinance of the City of Santa Cruz.”

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.020 DEFINITIONS.

Except where the context requires otherwise, the definitions given in this section govern the construction of the words defined in this chapter:

(1)    “Parking lot” shall mean a place where motor vehicles are provided parking space in exchange for a parking fee.

(2)    “Parking fee” shall mean consideration given by a person using a parking lot in exchange for that privilege.

(3)    “Operator” shall mean the person who is proprietor of a parking lot, whether in the capacity of owner, lessee, sublessee, mortgagee in possession, licensee, or any other capacity. Where the operator performs his function through a managing agent of any type or character other than an employee, the managing agency shall also be deemed an operator for the purposes of this chapter 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.

(4)    “Month” or “monthly” shall mean a calendar month.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.030 TAX IMPOSED.

For the privilege of parking a motor vehicle in any privately owned parking lot in the city of Santa Cruz where a daily parking fee is charged for the privilege of parking, a tax of ten percent of the total parking fee charged per day is assessed as a tax against each motor vehicle. This tax does not apply to fees for monthly parking permits or fees which are charged for parking on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. The tax constitutes a debt owed by the parking lot user to the city of Santa Cruz. This debt is extinguished only by payment by the parking lot operator to the city. The driver of each motor vehicle using a parking lot shall pay the tax to the parking lot operator at the time the parking fee is paid.

(Ord. 88-10 § 1, 1988: Ord. 86-53 § 1 (part), 1986: Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.035 Repealed by Ord. 86-53 § 2.

3.30.040 EXEMPTIONS.

No parking lot tax shall be imposed upon:

(a)    Any person as to whom it is beyond the power of the city to impose the tax provided in this chapter.

(b)    Any officer or employee of any governmental entity using the parking lot for official business.

No exemption shall be granted except upon a claim therefor made at the time the parking lot tax is collected and under penalty of perjury on a form prescribed by the director of finance.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.050 OPERATOR’S DUTIES.

Each parking lot operator shall collect the parking lot tax imposed by this chapter at the time any parking fee is collected.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.060 REGISTRATION.

Within thirty days after the effective date of this chapter, or within thirty days of commencing business, whichever is later, each parking lot operator shall register said parking lot with the director of finance and obtain a “parking lot registration certificate” to be posted conspicuously on the premises at all times. The certificate shall state, among other things, the following:

(a)    The name of the parking lot operator;

(b)    The address of the parking lot;

(c)    The date the registration certificate was issued;

(d)    “This parking lot registration certificate signifies that the parking lot operator has fulfilled the registration requirements of the parking lot tax ordinance by registering with the director of finance for the purpose of collecting a tax from parking lot users and remitting the tax to the director of finance. This certificate does not constitute a permit, nor does it signify that the business is lawful or lawfully conducted.”

(Ord. 88-10 § 1, 1988: Ord. 86-53 § 1 (part), 1986: Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.070 REPORTING AND REMITTING.

(a)    Each operator shall, on or before the last day of the month following the month for which the return is due, or at the close of any shorter reporting period which may be established by the director of finance, make a return to the director of finance, on forms provided by him of the total parking fees charged and received, number of motor vehicles parked, and the amount of parking tax collected. The director of finance may also require further information in the return.

(b)    Returns and payments are due on or before thirty days after cessation of business for any reason. All taxes collected by operators pursuant to this chapter shall be held in trust for the account of the city until payment thereof is made to the director of finance.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.080 PENALTIES AND INTEREST.

(a)    Tax Returns and Remittance of Deficiency Determinations.

(1)    Original Delinquency. Any operator who fails to file a tax return or pay a deficiency determination within the time required shall pay a penalty of ten percent of the tax in addition to the amount of the tax.

(2)    Continued Delinquency. Any operator who fails to file a tax return or pay a deficiency determination on or before a period of thirty days following the date on which it first became delinquent shall pay a second delinquency penalty of fifteen percent of the amount of tax in addition to the amount of tax and the ten percent penalty first imposed.

(3)    Interest. Interest shall accrue as prescribed in subsection (c) below.

(b)    Tax Returns and Deficiency Determinations.

(1)    Negligency. If the director of finance, or his representative, determines that any tax found to be due under this chapter or the delinquent filing of a tax return is due to negligence, a penalty of fifteen percent shall be added thereto in addition to any other penalties which may be imposed.

(2)    Fraud. If the director of finance, or his representative, determines that any tax found to be due under this chapter or the delinquent filing of a tax return is due to fraud or an intentional disregard or an intent to evade this part or authorized rules and regulations, a penalty of forty percent shall be added thereto in addition to any other penalties which may be imposed.

(3)    Interest. Interest shall accrue as prescribed in subsection (c) below.

(c)    Interest. In addition to the penalties imposed, any operator who fails to remit any tax imposed by this ordinance shall pay interest at the rate of one and one-half percent per month or fraction thereof on the amount of tax, exclusive of penalties, from the last day of the month following the monthly period for which the amount or any portion thereof should have been paid until the date of payment.

(d)    Relief from Penalties and Interest.

(1)    Excusable Delay. If the director of finance finds that an operator’s failure to make a timely return or payment is due to reasonable cause and circumstances beyond the person’s control, and occurred, notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care and the absence of willful neglect, the director of finance may waive the penalty provided for in subsection (a)(1) above.

Any person seeking to be relieved of the penalty shall file with the director of finance a statement under penalty of perjury setting forth the facts upon which the claim for relief is based.

(2)    Natural Disaster. If the director of finance finds that an operator’s failure to make a timely return or payment was due to disaster, and occurred notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care and the absence of willful neglect, the director of finance may waive the interest provided by subsection (c) above.

Any person seeking to be relieved of the interest shall file with the director of finance a statement under penalty of perjury setting forth the facts upon which the claim for relief is based.

(e)    Penalties Merged with Tax. Every penalty imposed and such interest as accrues under the provisions of this section shall become a part of the tax herein required to be paid.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.090 FAILURE TO COLLECT AND REPORT TAX – DETERMINATION OF TAX BY DIRECTOR OF FINANCE.

If any operator shall fail or refuse to provide records for audit, or to collect the parking lot tax and to make, within the time provided in this chapter, any report and remittance of said tax, or any portion thereof required by this chapter, the director of finance 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 director of finance 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 provide records for audit, or to collect the tax and to make their 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 director of finance shall give a notice of the amount assessed by serving it personally or by depositing it in the United States mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the operator so assessed at the operator’s last known address. Such operator may make an application in writing to the director of finance for a hearing on the amount assessed within ten days of service or mailing of the tax assessment notice. 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 director of finance shall become final and conclusive and immediately due and payable. If such application is made, the director of finance 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 the notice why the 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 director of finance 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 3.28.100.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.100 APPEAL.

Any parking lot operator aggrieved by any decision of the director of finance with respect to the amount of unpaid parking tax, interest, and penalties, if any, may appeal to the city council by filing a notice of appeal consistent with regulations set forth in Chapter 1.16 of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code. If the tax liability is sustained by the city council, any amount found to be due shall be immediately due and payable upon the service of the notice of the decision on the appellant.

(Ord. 88-10 § 1, 1988: Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.110 RECORDS.

Every parking lot operator responsible for collecting a tax under this chapter is responsible for keeping and preserving all records necessary to determine the amount of such tax for a period of three years. These records shall include, but not be limited to, records of cash receipts, daily vehicle counts, and daily records of serialized parking tickets issued. The director of finance shall have the right to inspect these records at all reasonable times.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.120 REFUNDS.

(a)    Whenever the amount of any tax, interest or penalty has been overpaid or paid more than once, or has been erroneously collected or received by the city under this chapter, it may be refunded as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, provided a claim in writing therefor is filed with the director of finance within three years of the date of the payment. The claim shall be made under penalty of perjury on forms furnished by the director of finance.

(b)    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 director of finance that the person from whom the tax has been collected was not liable to pay the tax under this chapter and that the tax was refunded to the parking lot user or credited against subsequent parking lot fees.

(c)    No refund shall be paid under the provisions of this section unless the claimant establishes a right thereto by written records showing entitlement thereto.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.130 ACTIONS TO COLLECT.

Any tax required to be paid by any parking lot user under the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a debt owed by the parking lot user to the city. Any such tax collected by a parking lot 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 of Santa Cruz for the recovery of such amount.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.140 SUCCESSORS’, ASSIGNEES’ RESPONSIBILITY.

If any operator liable for any amount under this chapter sells or quits the business, the operator’s successors or assigns shall withhold sufficient of the purchase price to cover such amount until the former owner produces a receipt from the director of finance showing that the parking lot tax has been paid or a certificate stating that no amount is due under this chapter.

If the successor in interest of a parking lot fails to withhold tax from the purchase price as required by this section, he or she shall be personally liable for payment of the amount to be withheld to the extent of the purchase price, valued in money. Within thirty days after receiving a written request from the successor in interest of a parking lot for a certificate, the director of finance shall either issue the certificate or mail notice to the successor at the address provided to the director of finance of the amount that must be paid as a condition of issuing the certificate. Failure of the director of finance to mail notice will release the successor from any further obligation to withhold purchase price as above provided. The time within which the obligation of a successor may be enforced begins to run at the time the operator sells or transfers the business or at the time the determination against the operator becomes final, whichever event occurs last.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).

3.30.150 PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS.

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 information required by the director of finance, or who renders a false or fraudulent return or claim, is subject to the penalties provided in Chapter 1.08 of this code. Any person required to make, render, sign, or verify any report or claim who makes any false or fraudulent report or claim with the intent to defeat or evade the determination of any amount due required by this chapter to be made is subject to the penalties provided in Chapter 1.08 of this code.

(Ord. 84-51 § 1, 1984: Ord. 84-44 § 1, 1984).