Chapter 5.32
TRANSIENT ROOM TAX

Sections:

5.32.010    Definitions.

5.32.020    Levy.

5.32.030    Collection.

5.32.040    Operator’s duties.

5.32.050    Exemptions.

5.32.060    Registration.

5.32.070    Returns.

5.32.080    Penalties and interest.

5.32.090    Deficiencies--Fraud--Evasion--Delay.

5.32.100    Redeterminations.

5.32.110    Security for collection.

5.32.120    Lien.

5.32.130    Refunds.

5.32.140    Collection fee.

5.32.150    Administration.

5.32.160    Appeal to city manager.

5.32.170    Transient room tax--Appeal to council.

5.32.180    Violations.

5.32.190    Penalties.

5.32.200    Responsibility for administration and collection.

5.32.010 Definitions.

The following words and phrases as used in this Section shall have the following meanings:

A.  "Hotel" means any structure or portion of any structure which is occupied or intended or designed for transient occupancy for thirty days or less 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, public or private dormitory, fraternity, sorority, public or private club, space in a mobile home or trailer park, or similar structure or portion thereof so occupied, provided the occupancy is for less than a thirty-day period.  Specifically exempt from this tax are "bed and breakfast" hotels with five rental rooms or less and mobile home parks which have five or less transient spaces.

B.  "Council" means the common council of the city.

C.  "Occupancy" means the use or possession, or the right to use or possession, for lodging or sleeping purposes, of any room in a hotel, or space in a mobile home or trailer park or portion thereof.

D.  "Operator" means the person who is proprietor of a hotel in any capacity and, where the operator performs his/her functions through a managing agent other than an employee, the managing agent who shall have the same duties and liabilities as his principal.  Compliance with the provisions of this section by either the principal or the managing agent shall be considered to be compliance by both.

E.  "Person" means any individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, social club, fraternal organization, fraternity, sorority, public or private dormitory, joint stock company, corporation, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, trustee, syndicate, or any other group or combination acting as a unit.

F.  "Cash accounting" means a system of accounting in which the operator does not enter on his records the rent due from a transient until the rent is paid.

G.  "Accrual accounting" means a system of accounting in which the operator enters on his records the rent due from a transient when the rent is earned, whether or not it is paid.

H.  "Rent" means the consideration charged, whether or not received by the operator, for the occupancy of space in a hotel whether or not valued in money, goods, labor, credits, property, or other consideration valued in money, without any deduction.

I.  "Rent package plan" means the consideration charged for both food and rent where a single rate is made for the total of both.  The amount applicable to rent for determination of the transient room tax under Section 5.32.020 of this code shall be the same charge made for rent when not a part of a package plan.

J.  "Tax administrator" means the general service administrator of the city.

K.  "Transient" means any individual who exercises occupancy or is entitled to occupancy in a hotel for a period of less than thirty consecutive calendar days, counting portions of calendar days as full days.  The day a transient checks out of the hotel shall not be included in determining the thirty-day period if the transient is not charged rent for that day by the operator.  Any individual so occupying space in a hotel 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 occupant providing for a longer period of occupancy.  A person who pays for lodging on a monthly basis, irrespective of the number of days in the month, shall not be deemed a transient.

L.  "Tax" means either the tax payable by the transient, or the aggregate amount of taxes due from an operator during the period for which he is required to report his collections. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.020 Levy.

For the privilege of occupancy in any hotel each transient shall pay a tax of four percent of the rent charged by the operator for the occupancy.  The tax shall constitute a debt owed by the transient to the city and be extinguished only by payment to the operator of the hotel.  The transient shall pay the tax to the operator of the hotel at the time the rent is paid.  The operator shall enter the tax on his records when the rent is collected, if the operator keeps his records on the cash accounting basis, and when earned, if the operator keeps his records on the accrual accounting basis.  If the rent is paid in installments, a proportionate share of the tax shall be paid by the transient to the operator with each installment.  If for any reason the tax due is not paid to the operator of the hotel, the tax administrator may require that the tax be paid directly to the city.  In all cases the rent paid or charged for occupancy shall exclude amounts received for the sale of goods, service or commodities, other than the furnishing of rooms, accommodations, and parking space in mobile home parks or trailer parks. (Ord. 2639 §2, 1989:  Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.030 Collection.

A. Every operator renting a room in this city, the occupancy of which is not exempted under the terms of Sections 5.32.010(A) or 5.32.050 of this code shall collect a tax from the occupant of the room.  The tax collected or accrued by the operator constitutes a debt owing by the operator to the city.

B.  In all cases of credit or deferred payment of rent, the payment of the tax to the operator may be deferred until the rent is paid, and the operator shall not be liable for the tax until the credit is paid or the deferred payment is made.

C.  The tax administrator shall enforce subsections A and B of this section and may adopt rules and regulations consistent with those subsections and necessary to aid in the enforcement.

D.  For rent collected on portions of a dollar the first one cent of tax shall be collected on thirty-four cents inclusive; the second one cent of tax shall be collected on thirty-five cents through sixty-six cents, inclusive; and the third one cent of tax shall be collected on sixty-seven cents through one dollar. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.040 Operator’s duties.

Each operator shall collect the tax imposed by Sections 5.32.020 and 5.32.030 of this code on a transient at the same time as he collects rent from the transient.  The amount of the tax shall be separately stated upon the operator’s records and on any receipt for the rent rendered by the operator to the transient.  No operator shall advertise that the tax or any part of the tax will be assumed or absorbed by the operator, or that it will not be added to the rent, or that, when added, any part will be refunded. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.050 Exemptions.

No tax may be imposed upon:

A.  Any occupant for more than thirty successive calendar days;

B.  Any person who pays for lodging on a monthly basis, irrespective of the number of days in the month;

C.  Any occupant whose rent is of a value less than two dollars per day;

D.  Any person who rents a private home, vacation cabin, or like facility from any owner who rents the facility incidentally to his own use thereof;

E.  Any occupant whose rent is paid for a hospital room or to a medical clinic, convalescent home, or home for aged people;

F.  Any occupant whose rent is paid by a local agency, either directly or through a voucher, in response to a local disaster or declared emergency. (Ord. 2805 §2, 1998; Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.060 Registration.

A. Every person engaging in business as an operator of a hotel in this city shall register with the tax administrator on a form provided by him within fifteen calendar days after commencing the business.  Non-registration under this section shall not relieve any person from the obligation to pay the tax.  The registration shall set forth the name under which the operator transacts or intends to transact business, the location of his place or places of business, and such other information to facilitate the collection of the tax as the tax administrator requires.  The registration shall be signed by the operator.  The tax administrator shall, within ten days after the registration, issue without charge a certificate of authority to the registrant to collect the tax from the occupants of the hotel, together with a duplicate thereof for each additional place of business of the registrant.  Such a certificate shall be nonassignable and nontransferable and shall be surrendered immediately to the tax administrator upon the cessation of business at the location named on the certificates or upon sale or transfer of the business.  Each such certificate and duplicate thereof shall state the place of business to which it is applicable and shall be prominently displayed so as to come to the notice readily of all occupants and persons seeking occupancy therein.

B.  The certificate shall, among other things state the following:

1.  The name of the operator;

2.  The address of the hotel;

3.  The date when the certificate is issued;

4.  "This Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate signifies that the person named on the face hereof has fulfilled the requirements of the transient room tax ordinance of the City of Cottage Grove by registration with the tax administrator for the purpose of collecting from transients the city’s room tax and remitting the 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, or to operate a hotel 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 the city.  This certificate does not constitute a permit." (Ord. 2635 §2 (part), 1989)

5.32.070 Returns.

A.  The tax imposed by Sections 5.32.020 and 5.32.030 of this code shall be paid by the transient to the operator when the transient pays rent to the operator.  All such taxes collected by any operator are due and payable to the tax administrator on the fifteenth day of the month for the preceding month and are delinquent on the last day of the month in which they are due.

B.  On or before the fifteenth day of the month following each month of collection by an operator, he shall file a return for that month’s tax collections with the tax administrator.  The return shall be filed in such form as the tax administrator prescribes.

C.  A return shall show the amount of tax collected or otherwise due for the period for which the return is filed.  The total rentals upon which the tax is collected or otherwise due, gross receipts of the operator for the period, and an explanation in detail of any discrepancy between such amounts, and the amount of rents exempt, if any.

D.  The person required to file the return shall deliver the return, together with the remittance of the amount of the tax due, with the tax administrator at his office either by personal delivery or by mail.  If the return is mailed, the postmark shall be considered the date of delivery.

E.  For good cause, the tax administrator may extend for not to exceed one month the time for making any return or payment of tax.  No further extension may be granted, except by the city manager.  Any operator to whom an extension is granted shall pay interest at the rate of one and one-half percent per month on the amount of tax due, without proration for a fraction of a month.  If a return is not filed, and the tax and interest due is not paid by the end of the extension granted, then the interest shall become a part of the tax for computation of penalties prescribed in Section 5.32.080(C) of this code.

F.  The tax administrator, if he deems it necessary in order to insure payment or facilitate collection by the city of the amount of taxes in any individual case, may require returns and payment of the amount of taxes for other than monthly periods. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.080 Penalties and interest.

A.  Any operator who has not been granted an extension of time for remittance of tax due and who fails to remit any tax imposed by Section 5.32.070(A) of this code prior to delinquency shall pay a penalty of ten percent of the amount of the tax due in addition to the amount of the tax.

B.  Any operator who has not been granted an extension of time for remittance of tax due, and who fails to pay any delinquent remittance on or before a period of thirty days following the date on which the remittance first becomes delinquent shall pay a second delinquency penalty of fifteen percent of the amount of the tax due plus the amount of the tax and the ten percent penalty first imposed.

C.  If the tax administrator determines that the nonpayment of any remittance due under Section 5.32.070 of this code is due to fraud or intent to evade the provisions thereof, a penalty of twenty-five percent of the amount of the tax shall be added thereto in addition to the penalties stated in subsections A and B of this section.

D.  In addition to the penalties imposed, any operator who fails to remit any tax imposed by Section 5.32.070 of this code shall pay interest at the rate of one-half of one percent per month or fraction thereof, without proration for portions of a month, on the amount of the tax due, exclusive of penalties, from the date on which the remittance first becomes delinquent, until paid.

E.  Every penalty imposed and such interest as accrues under the provisions of this section shall be merged with, and become a part of, the tax required to be paid. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.090 Deficiencies--Fraud--Evasion--Delay.

A.  If the tax administrator determines that a tax return required by Section 5.32.070 of this code is incorrect, he may compute and determine the amount required to be paid, upon the basis of the facts contained in the return or returns or upon the basis of any information within his possession.  One or more deficiency determinations may be made of the amount due for one or more periods, and the amount so determined shall be due and payable immediately upon service of notice as herein provided, after which the amount determined shall be delinquent.  Penalties on deficiencies shall be applied as set forth in Section 5.32.080 of this code.

1.  In making a deficiency determination the tax administrator may offset overpayments, if any, which may have been previously made against any underpayment for a subsequent period or periods, or against penalties, and interest, on the underpayments.  The interest on underpayments shall be computed in the manner set forth in Section 5.32.080 of this code.

2.  The tax administrator shall give to the operator or occupant a written notice of his determination.  The notice may be served personally or by mail; if by mail, the notice shall be addressed to the operator at his address as it appears in the records of the tax administrator.  In case of service by mail of any notice required by this section, the service shall be complete at the time of deposit in the United States Post Office.

3.  Except in the case of fraud or intent to evade Sections 5.32.020 to 5.32.070 of this code or rules and regulations pursuant to it, every deficiency determination shall be made and notice thereof mailed within three years after the last day of the month following the close of the monthly period for which the deficiency is proposed to be determined or within three years after the return is filed, whichever period expires the later.

4.  Any deficiency determination shall become due and payable immediately upon receipt of notice by the operator and shall become final within ten days after the tax administrator gives notice thereof, but the operator may petition for redemption and refund if the petition is filed before the determination becomes final.

B.  If any operator fails or refuses to collect the tax or to make, within the time required by Sections 5.32.020 and 5.32.030 of this code, any report and remittance of the tax or any portion thereof required by Section 5.32.070 of this code, or makes a fraudulent return or otherwise wilfully attempts to evade Sections 5.32.020 and 5.32.030 of this code, the tax administrator shall proceed in such manner as he deems best to obtain facts and information on which to base an estimate of the tax due.  As soon as the tax administrator determines the tax due from any operator who has failed or refused to collect the same and to report and remit said tax, he shall proceed to determine and assess against the operator the tax, interest, and penalties provided for by Sections 5.32.020 and 5.32.080 of this code.  In case such a determination is made, the tax administrator shall give a notice, in the manner prescribed by Section 5.32.090 of the amount so assessed.  The determination and notice shall be made and mailed within three years after discovery by the tax administrator of any fraud, intent to evade, or failure or refusal to collect the tax, or failure to file a required return.  Any deficiency determination shall become due and payable immediately upon receipt of the notice and shall become final within ten days after the tax administrator gives notice thereof.  The operator may, however, petition for redemption and refund if the petition is filed before the determination becomes final as provided in subsection A of this section.

C.  If the tax administrator believes that the collection of any tax or any amount of tax required to be collected and paid to the city by Section 5.32.020 of this code is jeopardized by delay, or if any deficiency determination made under this section is jeopardized by delay, he shall thereupon make a determination of the tax or amount of tax required to be collected, noting the fact upon the determination.  The amount so determined as provided in this section shall be immediately due and payable, and the operator shall immediately pay the determined amount to the tax administrator after service of notice thereof.  The operator may petition, however, after payment is made, for redemption and refund of the determination, if the petition is filed within ten days from the date of service of notice by the tax administrator. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.100 Redeterminations.

A.  Any person against whom a determination is made under Section 5.32.090 of this code or any person directly interested in the determination may petition for a redetermination and redemption and refund, within the time required in Section 5.32.090 of this code.  If a petition for redetermination and refund is not filed within the time required in Section 5.32.090, the determination shall become final at the expiration of the allowable time.

B.  If a petition for redetermination and refund is filed within the allowable time period, the tax administrator shall reconsider the determination, and, if the person has so requested in his petition, shall grant the person an oral hearing and shall give him ten days notice of the time and place of the hearing.  The tax administrator may continue the hearing from time to time as necessary.

C.  The tax administrator may decrease or increase the amount of the determination as a result of the hearing, and if an increase is determined, the increase shall be payable immediately after the hearing.

D.  The order or decision of the tax administrator upon a petition for redetermination and redemption and refund shall become final ten days after service upon the petitioner of notice thereof, unless appeal of such order or decision is filed with the city manager within the ten days after service of such notice.

E.  No petition for redetermination and redemption and refund or appeal therefrom shall be effective for any purpose unless the operator first complies with the payment provisions hereof. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.110 Security for collection.

A. The tax administrator, whenever he deems it necessary to insure compliance with Sections 5.32.020 to 5.32.100 of this code may require any operator subject to the transient room tax to deposit with him such security in the form of cash, bond, or other assets as the tax administrator determines.  The amount of the security shall be fixed by the tax administrator but shall not be greater than twice the operator’s estimated average monthly liability for the period for which he files returns, determined in such manner as the tax administrator deems proper, or five thousand dollars, whichever amount is the lesser.  The amount of the security may be increased or decreased by the tax administrator subject to the limitations herein provided.

B.  At any time within three years after any tax or any amount of tax required to be collected becomes due and payable, or at any time within three years after any determination by the tax administrator under Sections 5.32.020 to 5.32.190 of this code becomes final, the tax administrator may bring an action in the courts of this state, or any other state, or of the United States, in the name of the city, to collect the amount delinquent, together with penalties and interest. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.120 Lien.

A. The tax imposed by Section 5.32.020 of this code, together with the interest and penalties provided by Section 5.32.080 the filing fees paid to the department of records of the county and advertising costs which may be incurred when the tax becomes delinquent under Section 5.32.070 shall be, and until paid remain, a lien from the date of its recording with the department of records of the county and superior to all subsequent recorded liens on all tangible personal property used in the hotel of an operator within the city and may be foreclosed on and sold as necessary to discharge the lien, if the lien has been so recorded.  Notice of lien may be issued by the tax administrator whenever the operator is in default in the payment of the tax, interest and penalty, and shall be recorded with the department of records and a copy sent to the delinquent operator.  The personal property subject to the lien and seized by any deputy of the tax administrator may be sold by the tax administrator at public auction after ten days notice thereof published in a newspaper in the city.

B.  Any such lien as shown on the records of the department of records shall, upon the payment of the taxes, penalty and interest for which the lien has been imposed, be released by the tax administrator when their full amount has been paid to the city.  The operator or person making the payment shall receive a receipt therefor stating that the full amount of the taxes, penalties, and interest have been paid and that the lien is thereby released and the record of lien satisfied. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.130 Refunds.

Whenever the amount of any tax imposed under this code has been paid more than once or has been erroneously or illegally collected or received by the tax administrator, it may be refunded, provided a verified claim in writing therefor, stating the specific reason upon which the claim is founded, is filed with the tax administrator within three years from the date of payment.  The claim shall be made on forms provided by him.  If he approves the claim, the excess amount collected or paid may be refunded or may be credited on any amounts then due and payable from the operator from whom it was collected or by whom paid, and the balance may be refunded to him or his administrators, executors or assignees.  All refunds shall be charged to the transient room tax fund. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.140 Collection fee.

Every operator liable for the collection and remittance of the tax imposed by Section 5.32.020 of this code may withhold five percent of the net tax due to cover his expense in the collection and remittance of the tax. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.150 Administration.

A. The tax administrator shall deposit all money collected pursuant to Sections 5.32.020 to 5.32.120 of this code to the credit of the transient room tax fund.

B.  Every operator shall keep guest records of room rentals and accounting books and records of the rentals.  All these records he shall retain for three years and six months after they come into being.

C.  The tax administrator or any person authorized in writing by him may examine during normal business hours the books, papers, and accounting records relating to room rentals of any operator liable for the tax, after notification to him and may investigate the business of the operator in order to verify the accuracy of any return made, or if no return is made by the operator, to ascertain and determine the amount required to be paid by him.

D.  Neither the tax administrator nor any person having an administrative or clerical duty under Sections 5.32.030 to 5.32.190 of this code may make known in any manner whatever the business affairs, operations, or information obtained by an investigation of records and equipment of any person required to obtain a transient occupancy registration certificate, or pay a transient room tax, or any other person visited or examined in the discharge of official duty, or the amount or source of income, profits, losses, expenditures, or any particular thereof, set forth in any statement or application, or permit any statement or application, or copy of either, or any book containing any abstract or particulars thereof, to be seen or examined by any person.  Nothing in this subsection shall prevent, however:

1.  The disclosure to, or the examination of records and equipment by another city employee, tax-collecting agent for the sole purpose of administering or collecting the tax;

2.  The disclosure, after the filing of a written request to that effect, to the taxpayer himself or his receivers, trustees, executors, administrators, assignees, and guarantors, if directly interested, of information as to any such tax paid, any such tax unpaid or the amount of any such tax required to be collected, together with interest and penalties thereon provided the city attorney approves each such disclosure.  The tax administrator may refuse to make any such disclosure referred to in this paragraph when in his opinion the public interest would suffer thereby;

3.  The disclosure of the names and addresses of any persons to whom transient occupancy registration certificates have been issued;

4.  The disclosure of general statistics regarding taxes collected or business done in the city. (Ord. 2635 §2 (part), 1989)

5.32.160 Appeal to city manager.

Any person aggrieved by any decision of the tax administrator may appeal to the city manager by filing a notice of appeal with the tax administrator within ten days of the serving or mailing of the notice of the decision.  The tax administrator shall fix a time and place for hearing the appeal and shall give the appellant ten days’ written notice of the time and place of the hearing. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.170 Transient room tax--Appeal to council.

Any person aggrieved by any decision of the city manager under Section 5.32.160 of this code may appeal to the council by filing a notice of appeal with the tax administrator within ten days of the serving or the mailing of the notice of the decision given by the city manager.  The tax administrator shall transmit the notice together with the file of the appealed matter, to the council, who shall fix a time and place for hearing the appeal.  The council shall give the appellant not less than ten days written notice of the time and place of hearing the appeal. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.180 Violations.

No operator or other person required to do so may fail or refuse to register as required by Section 5.32.060 of this code or to furnish any return required to be made under Section 5.32.070 or to furnish a supplemental return or other data required by the tax administrator.  No person may render a false or fraudulent return under Section 5.32.070.  No person required to make, render, sign, or verify any report regarding the transient room tax may make any false or fraudulent report. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.190 Penalties.

Any person wilfully violating any provision of Sections 5.32.020 to 5.32.180 of this code shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and be punishable therefor by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than six months or by both such fine and imprisonment. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)

5.32.200 Responsibility for administration and collection.

The city manager may delegate the responsibility for the administration and collection of the transient room tax as set forth in this code to the director of finance, city of Eugene. (Ord. 2635 §2(part), 1989)