Chapter 2.74


2.74.010    Short title.

2.74.020    Definitions.

2.74.030    Tax imposed.

2.74.040    Exemption.

2.74.050    Duties of operator.

2.74.060    Registration of hotels, motels.

2.74.070    Reporting and remitting.

2.74.080    Penalties for delinquency.

2.74.090    Failure to collect and report tax.

2.74.100    Appeal.

2.74.110    Records.

2.74.120    Refunds.

2.74.130    Actions to collect.

2.74.140    Penalty for violations.

2.74.010 Short title.

The ordinance codified in this chapter shall be known as the "Uniform Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance" of the city.

(Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.020 Definitions.

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

"Person" means any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, or other group or combination thereof.

"Hotel" or "motel" means any structure or portion of any structure, which is occupied, or intended or designed for occupancy by transients for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes, and is classified as a hotel, motel, inn, tourist home, lodging room, rooming house, dormitory, or other similar structure.

"Occupancy" means the use or possession, or the right to the use or possession of any room or rooms or portion thereof in any hotel or motel for dwelling, lodging, or sleeping purposes.

"Transient" means any person who exercises occupancy or is entitled to occupancy by reason of any permit, right of access, or agreement thereof for a period of not more than thirty consecutive calendar days or portions thereof. The proprietor and/or manager when residing on the premises shall not be deemed a transient.

"Rent" means the consideration charged, whether or not received, for the occupancy of a room or rooms in a hotel or motel.

"Operator" means the person who is proprietor of the hotel or motel, 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 other than an employee, the managing agent shall 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.

"Tax administrator" means the business license collector of the city.

(Ord. 1273 § 1, 8-11-75: Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.030 Tax imposed.

For the privilege of occupancy in any hotel or motel, each transient is subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of eight percent of the rent charged by the operator. The tax constitutes a debt owed by the transient to the city which is extinguished only by payment to the operator or to the city. The transient shall pay the tax to the operator of the hotel or motel 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 constitutes a debt owed by the transient’s ceasing to occupy space in the hotel or motel. If for any reason the tax due is not paid to the operator of the hotel or motel, the tax administrator may require that such tax shall be paid directly to the tax administrator.

(Ord. 1643 § 1, 10-22-84: Ord. 1273 § 2, 8-11-75: Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.040 Exemption.

No tax shall be imposed upon any person as to whom, or any occupancy as to which, it is beyond the power of the city to impose the tax provided for in this chapter.

No exemption shall be granted except upon a claim therefor made at the time rent is collected and under penalty of perjury, upon a form prescribed by the tax administrator.

(Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.050 Duties of operator.

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 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 in this chapter.

(Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.060 Registration of hotels, motels.

Within thirty days after the effective date of Ordinance No. 1258, codified in this chapter, or within thirty days after commencing business, whichever is later, each operator of any hotel renting occupancy to transients shall register said hotel with the tax administrator and obtain from him a transient occupancy registration certificate to be at all times posted in a conspicuous place on the premises. The certificate shall, among other things, state the following:

(1)    The name of the operator;

(2)    The address of the hotel;

(3)    The date upon which the certificate was issued;

(4)    The following statement: "This transient occupancy registration certificate signifies that the person named on the face hereof has fulfilled the requirements of the South Gate 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 operate a hotel or motel 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. 1273 § 3, 8-11-75; Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.070 Reporting and remitting.

Each operator shall, on or before the last day of the month following the close of each calendar quarter, or at any close of any shorter reporting period which may be established by the tax administrator, make a return to the tax administrator, on forms provided by him, of the total rents charged and received and the amount of tax collected for transient occupancies. At the time the return is filed, the full amount of the tax collected shall be remitted to the tax administrator. The tax administrator may establish shorter reporting periods for any certificate holder if he deems it necessary in order to insure collection of the tax and he may require further information in the return. Returns and payments are due immediately upon 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 tax administrator.

(Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.080 Penalties for delinquency.

A.    Original Delinquency. Any operator who fails to remit any tax imposed by this chapter 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.

B.    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 an additional penalty of ten percent of the amount of the tax for each thirty days such delinquency remains unpaid. (Ord. 1273 § 4, 8-11-75).

C.    Fraud. If the tax administrator determines that the nonpayment of any remittance due under this chapter 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 A and B of this section.

D.    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.

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 required to be paid in this chapter.

(Ord. 1273 § 4, 8-11-75; Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.090 Failure to collect and report tax.

If any operator fails or refuses to collect said 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 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 and 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 at his last known place of address. Such operator may within ten days after the service or mailing of such notice make application in writing to the tax administrator for a hearing on the amount assessed. The amount so determined to be due shall be payable after fifteen days unless an appeal is taken as provided in Section 2.74.100.

(Ord. 1273 § 5, 8-11-75: Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.100 Appeal.

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.

(Ord. 1273 § 6, 8-11-75: Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.110 Records.

It shall be the duty of every operator liable for the collection and payment to the city of any tax imposed by this chapter 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 any reasonable time during business hours.

(Ord. 2011 § 1 Exh. A (part), 8-27-96: Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.120 Refunds.

A.    Claim. 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 chapter, it may be refunded as provided in subsections B and C of this section, 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 one year of the date of payment. The claim shall be on forms furnished by the tax administrator.

B.    Refund to Operator. 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.

C.    Refund to Transient. 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 subsection A of this section, 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, establishes to the satisfaction of the tax administrator that the transient has been unable to obtain a refund from the operator who collected the tax.

D.    Records Required. No refund shall be paid under the provisions of this section unless the claimant establishes his right thereto by written records showing settlement thereto.

(Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.130 Actions to collect.

Any tax required to be paid by any transient under the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a debt owed 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. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)

2.74.140 Penalty for violations.

Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punishable therefor by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment as the committing magistrate may direct, for a period of not to exceed six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(Ord. 2011 § 1 Exh. A (part), 8-27-96: Ord. 1273 § 7, 8-11-75: Ord. 1258 § 1 (part), 2-24-75)