The Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) within the City of Escondido is regulated by Escondido Municipal Code Chapter 25 Article 4.  For the privilege of occupancy in any hotel, each transient is subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of ten percent (10%) of the rent charged by the operator. The transient shall pay the tax to the operator of the hotel at the time the rent is paid.

Please refer to the Escondido Municipal Code (Chapter 25 Article 4 Sec. 25-75) for definitions of hotel, occupancy, operator, transient and rent.

Monthly Tax Remittance

Every hotel charging rent for the occupancy of space in a hotel valued in money, shall complete and sign a monthly Tax Return Form indicating the total amount of room rent charges, any exemptions, penalties, interest, adjustments, and the tax required to be collected.

The monthly reports and the tax remittance payment must be received by the City of Escondido on or before the last day of the month following the close of the prior month. It is the hotel operator's responsibility to submit each monthly tax remittance payment, along with the proper forms, by the applicable due dates. If the payment due date falls on a weekend or City holiday, the next business day shall become the due date.

Registration Certificate

Each hotel operator shall register with the City of Escondido Finance Department and obtain a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate which is to be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises at all times.  Returns and payments are due immediately upon close of business and/or change of ownership for any reason.  A Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate is not transferable. 

For further assistance regarding the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), please contact the Finance Department at 760-839-4620.

Frequently Asked Questions

The City of Escondido taxes the occupancy of any hotel or motel, or any portion of any structure used for lodging for transients.  This is also known as a transient occupancy tax (“TOT”).  TOT collected by operators from their transient guests helps fund important City services, such as law enforcement and road maintenance. 

A Transient is any person who occupies a room or space in a hotel or motel for a period of 30 consecutive calendar days or less.

No.  Pursuant to Section 33-8 of Article 1 of the Escondido Zoning Code, a hotel or motel means a building where “transient lodging (for a period of thirty (30) consecutive calendar days or less) with or without meals is provided for compensation.” This means a transient may only stay at the hotel or motel for a period of 30 consecutive days or less.

Any person(s) who receives any compensation in exchange for a person occupying any room or space, regardless if the room or space is shared or accessible to others, for 30 consecutive days or less, is considered a hotel or motel operator.  Hotel and motel operators must collect the tax, then file a report with the City.  The transient shall pay the tax to the operator of the hotel at the time the rent is paid or compensation received.  It applies whether hotel or motel units are rented directly by owners, through a local property manager or operator, or through a listing service.  It also covers any rent, defined in the Escondido Municipal Code as “the consideration charged to the transient, whether or not received, for the occupancy of space in a hotel, 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 ...”  The TOT also applies when payment for transient guests is made by a third party.

TOT is calculated as a percentage of the rent for the occupancy of a structure or any portion of the structure.  In Escondido, each transient is subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of 10% of the rent charged by the hotel or motel operator.

The law requires that operators collect the tax from transient guests.  But it also covers the consideration charged, whether or not received from the transient or third party.  Operators hold TOT revenues in trust and remit them to the City every month.  The monthly reports and the tax remittance payment must be received by the City of Escondido on or before the last day of the month following the close of the prior month.

Hotel and motel operators must submit a monthly tax return form indicating, among other things, the total amount of room rent charges, penalties, interest, adjustments, and the tax required to be collected.  If the hotel or motel operator fails to collect the TOT, the operator is liable to the City for the amount of the tax due on the amount of taxable rent for the occupancy of the structure or any portion of the structure as if the transient guest had paid the tax.

The TOT within the City of Escondido is regulated by Escondido Municipal Code, Chapter 25, Article 4, under the authority of California Revenue and Taxation Code section 7280.  If you are not familiar with these regulations, please take some time to review the hotel and motel operator requirements.