Transient occupancy taxes increase in Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties New Year's Day 2019

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The new year brings with it higher bills for visitors to lodge in areas of Napa, Marin and Sonoma counties, courtesy of voters in the November election.

Of the 10 local ballot measures seeking to increase transient occupancy taxes, all passed but the one for American Canyon won — and it missed the two-thirds threshold by tenths of a percentage point. County tax collectors are alerting owner of properties listed on online short-term rental services to collect the new higher rates.

Starting New Year's Day, the transient occupancy tax charged to those who stay at facilities in West Marin County for 30 days or less will rise to 14 percent from 10 percent. Marin County announced the geographic boundaries affected by the rate increase include all of coastal West Marin from Muir Beach to Dillon Beach. Here’s a list of parcels affected.

While the West Marin hotel tax boost takes effect Jan. 1, the county stated that if a reservation was made in writing for stays before Jan. 1, 2020, the old rate is to be applied to the customers’ bill.

”If TOT is collected from the guest and remitted to the Tax Collector at the historical 10 percent tax rate for a reservation that was booked in writing before January 1, 2019, then supporting documentation that validates the booking date must be submitted to the Tax Collector with the corresponding TOT return,” the county stated.

Online lodging platform Airbnb has agreed to calculate, collect and remit TOT pursuant to the West Marin tax rate increase beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Another popular online site, Expedia, is expected to update their site to reflect the TOT rate increase, but short-term rental operators are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the correct amount of tax is being collected and remitted to the tax collector, the county stated.

On Nov. 6 West Marin voters approved Measure W by a measure of 76.53 percent of the votes cast. That authorized the tax increase for short-term rentals and campsites in the western region of the county. The additional tax is designated to be used exclusively for the benefit of communities in West Marin.

Another Marin locale with a new higher hotel tax as of Tuesday was Sausalito. Measure L, approved with 82 percent of the vote, increased the tax to 14 percent from 12 percent.

Several Napa County cities, including Napa, Yountville, St. Helena as well unincorporated areas of the county also raising hotel taxes. For example, Calistoga will start charging 13 percent tax. Proceeds of all the voter-approved tax are slated for affordable housing.

In Sonoma County, Sebastopol and Sonoma city voters approved higher TOT rates with 71 percent and nearly 80 percent of the ballots, respectively.

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