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 Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

 TOT: Transients

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 Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)?
  The Transient Occupancy Tax is a tax of 12% imposed on any person who stays in a hotel, motel, inn, etc., as defined under "hotel", that are located in Berkeley. The tax is collected from the guest, and is paid to the hotel operator with the intended rent. The TOT is commonly known as a "hotel tax" and applies to transient stays of up to 30 consecutive days.

Rentals for more than 30 consecutive days are not subject to the Transient Occupancy Taxes.

City requirements for rental property, rental/tenant protections and rent control provisions may apply to stays of 14 days or more. 
2.  What fees are included as rent for Transient Occupancy Tax?
  Rent and fees include, but are not limited to:
  •  rents
  • cleaning fees
  • pet fees 
  • internet charge
  •  late check-out fees
  • service fees
  • extra person fees
  • resort fees
Rent does not include refundable deposits and items in a special package rate such as boat passes or other recreational activity subject to CA sales tax as long as the operator separately states the rent and tax from other amounts on all receipts and books of record. If additional benefits are not stated separately as indicated above, the entire amount shall be presumed to be rent.
3.   Is a Short-Term Rental subject to Transient Occupancy Tax? 
  Yes. Short-Term rentals are subject to a 12% Transient Occupancy Tax as well as a 2% code enforcement fee and a $220.00 non-refundable application fee.   For more information on Short-Term Rental, please visit
4.  Why is a business operation taxed as a hotel? 
  A hotel is defined as a structure or any portion of a structure which is intended for occupancy on a transient basis. A “hotel” may include, but is not limited to, any hotel, inn, tourist home or house, motel, studio hotel, bachelor hotel, lodging house, dormitory, public or private club, mobile home or house trailer at a fixed location. In this case a transient basis refers to occupancy of 30 consecutive days or fewer.
 5.  Why is Transient Occupancy Tax important to collect?
  The tax paid by visitors helps fund projects that benefit the City as a whole. These include public safety, transportation, libraries, public parks, infrastructure improvements, and historical and environmental preservation projects.

6.  How is Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT, aka “Hotel Tax”) calculated and collected on a transaction for transient accommodations?
  The TOT is 12% of the rent and is added to the amount of rent charged to the guest.  To calculate TOT, multiply the rent charged by 12%. For example, if a guest is charged $75 plus a $25 “service fee,” the taxable rent is $100.  The tax would be 12% of $100, which is $12.  To collect the TOT, the party that receives the rent payment adds TOT to the rent and collects both at the same time.  In this example, a guest would be charged $75 (rent) + $25 (service fee) + $12 (TOT) = $112. To collect the TOT, the party that receives the rent payment adds TOT to the rent and collects both at the same time (see table below for other examples of TOT calculations). The party receiving payment from the guest must provide a receipt, and the receipt must separately state the amount of TOT collected.
Examples of TOT Calculations

Taxable Rent Amount:
(include but not limited to rent, service fees, and cleaning fees) 

$25 $50 $75 $100
12% TOT:
(12% x Taxable Rent)
$3 $6 $9 $12
Amount to Collect from Guest:
(Taxable Rent + TOT)
$28 $56 $84 $112
The party that collects transient occupancy tax holds it in trust for the City of Berkeley, until it remits those funds to the City. 
For general rentals, the 1% Berkeley Tourism Business Improvement District (BTBID) fee is added to the TOT remittance to the City. Short-Term Rentals are not subject to the BTBTID fee. To estimate TOT and BTBID fees, you can use the calculator below.
Enter Taxable Rental Amount: $
(include but not limited to rent, service fees, and cleaning fees)
12% TOT:
(12% x Taxable Rent)
(1% x Taxable Rent) 
Amount to Submit to the City:





  For Short-Term Rentals, the 2% code enforcement fee is added to the TOT remittance to the City. To estimate TOT and code enforcement fees, you can use the calculator below. 
Enter Taxable Rental Amount: $ 
(include but not limited to rent, service fees, and cleaning fees)
12% TOT:
(12% x Taxable Rent)
2% Code Enforcement Fee:
(2% x Taxable Rent) 
Amount to Submit to the City:
(TOT + Code Enforcement Fee)


7.  Can a host charge the Short-Term Rental 2% code enforcement fee to the transient?
  No. The code enforcement fee is paid by the host.
8.   How do fees or commissions retained by website companies affect calculation of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)?
  Arrangements between a host and a website company do not affect calculation of TOT.  TOT is calculated based on the amount paid by the guest.  
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9.   When should Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) collections be remitted to the City?
  The TOT must be submitted monthly and is due no later than the last day of the following month. For example, the TOT collected in the month of May must be remitted by June 30. TOT collections are reported and remitted to the Finance Treasury Office based on the month in which the payment is received by the host, not the month in which the occupancy occurred. Tax returns must be filed monthly even if no tax is due.
10.   What happens if there is a late payment, no payment, or insufficient payment?
  If full payment of the TOT is not remitted by the operator within the time required, penalties and interest will be incurred as follows:

• A penalty of ten percent (10%) of the amount of the tax in addition to the amount of the tax.

• If the payment continues to be delinquent thirty (30) days after the initial date of delinquency, the operator will also pay a second penalty of ten percent (10%) of the amount of the tax in addition to the amount of the tax and the ten (10%) percent penalty first imposed.

• In addition to the penalties, the operator will also pay simple interest at a rate of one percent (1%) per month or fraction thereof on the amount of tax, exclusive of the penalties, from the date on which the remittance first became delinquent until paid.

11.   Can an operator request a waiver of penalties and interest?
  An operator may apply in writing to the Tax Administrator for a hearing on the amount assessed if (s)he disagrees with the amount due or wants to show due cause for waiver of penalties and interest. The operator must submit his/her request for a hearing within ten (10) days from receiving notice of the amount due or the amount due determined by the Tax Administrator.
12.   What is a hosting platform?
  A hosting platform in an online booking service that allows Operators of residential dwelling units to be matched with those desiring accommodations. Examples of these hosting platforms are Airbnb, Homeaway, VRBO, Flipkey, etc. Services offered to the hosts by the hosting platforms vary. 
 13.  Which hosting platforms have a "Voluntary Collection Agreement" with the City?
Airbnb is currently the only platform that have a "Voluntary Collection Agreement" with the City. This means that if you host exclusively through Airbnb, you are not required to submit TOT filings. The tax collection by Airbnb does not include the 2% enforcement fee. Hosts are responsible for paying the 2% enforcement fee to the City.

14.   Can a host enter into an agreement with the hosting platform to handle all the Transient Occupancy Tax responsibilities?
  The host should direct this question to the hosting platform.
15.   Who is responsible for collecting Transient Occupancy Tax from guests if I rent through Airbnb, VRBO, or other hosting platforms?
  The host is responsible for ensuring compliance with the City’s TOT Ordinance, including the collection and remittance of any TOT taxes that apply to their accommodations. If payment by the guest is made through the hosting platform, it may collect the tax on your behalf. Please check with your hosting platform to see if these taxes are collected by them. 
16.  Can a hosting platform remit Transient Occupancy Tax  and code enforcement fee on behalf of the host?
  Yes, hosting platforms that have an agreement with the City can remit the TOT and code enforcement fee on behalf of the host. Hosting platforms may contact the City's Tax Administrator at or 510-981-7318 for more information.
Still have questions? 

 Please contact the Finance Department Revenue Development Division: 

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