The City levies an 11% Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) for the privilege of occupying any space where accommodations are offered for hire for periods of thirty (30) days or less. The tax is paid by the occupant and collected by the operator. The operator then remits the tax to the City.
If your property is subject to the TOT, you are required to register with the City within thirty (30) days of commencing business, and to file monthly TOT returns.
On October 25, 2016, the City Council adopted an urgency interim ordinance, effective immediately, imposing a temporary moratorium on the establishment of short-term/vacation rentals in a housing unit or duplex not occupied by the owner of that housing unit or duplex.
In addition, Accessory Dwelling Unit properties may not be converted to short-term/vacation rentals. [Municipal Code Section 24.16.160 (9)(e), amended per ordinance 2015-15, effective December, 2015]
Please note that for any short-term rentals prior to October 25, 2016, you are required to register and remit TOT for those periods, even if you are subject to the moratorium.
The TOT Rate is 11%, effective July 1, 2013
- Santa Cruz Municipal Code (SCMC) Chapter 3.28
- TOT Frequently Asked Questions
- List of Charges Subject/Not Subject to TOT
If you received a message from Airbnb regarding collecting TOT on your behalf, please note:
*** This does not pertain to properties within the City of Santa Cruz ***
You must continue to file a TOT return every month
Return the TOT Eligibility & Registration Certificate Application to the Finance Department. Use a separate form for each rental property. You will be notified of the next steps, as applicable.
TOT Return Forms
TOT Operators are required to file a TOT return every month.
- TOT Tax Return Form - Fillable PDF
- TOT Tax Return Form - Blank to print & fill in manually
Room occupancy is exempt from taxation for any federal officer or employee when on official business, and for certain officers or employees of foreign governments. For more information please refer to Santa Cruz Municipal Code Section 3.28.040. To claim an exemption from the TOT, the guest and hotel operator must complete the TOT Certificate of Tax Exemption form at the time the rent is collected. Note: The TOT Certificate of Tax Exemption must be kept on file for at least four years, in case of audit.
Santa Cruz County Tourism Marketing District (SCCMTD)
Operating since July 1, 2010, the Santa Cruz County Tourism Marketing District (SCCTMD) is a benefit assessment district developed to help fund marketing and sales promotion efforts for the Santa Cruz County lodging businesses. The SCCTMD includes all lodging businesses located within Santa Cruz County, in all of the incorporated cities as well as the unincorporated area.
To report TMD fees collected on behalf of the SCCTMD, the operators can use the form provided here:
If you have questions regarding the TOT or SCCTMD, please contact the Revenue Division of the Finance Department:
Phone: (831) 420-5070