Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

New Short Term Rental Ordinance

On October 18, 2022, the Sierra County Board of Supervisors adopted a new zoning ordinance to regulate short-term rentals. Short-term rentals (STR) are residential units rented for 30 days or less, typically advertised as vacation rentals on sites like AirBnB and VRBO.

With this new STR ordinance, a permit will now be required before an STR may be offered for rent, advertised, or used in this manner.  The ordinance is intended to preserve residential neighborhood character and address community concerns regarding nuisances caused by STR operations.  The ordinance establishes a new permit process, standards of operation and enforcement provisions. These provisions will take effect on January 1, 2023.  

The STR ordinance will be codified in Sierra County Code Title 15-Zoning, Chapter 10-Specific Land Use Requirements and Standards, Section 60-Short-Term Rentals. [SCC §15.10.060] To view or print the complete Ordinance No. 1117 with definitions, as adopted, please click here: Ordinance 1117 Resolution 2022-136

Anyone considering renting on a short-term basis will need to register with the Tax Collector's office. As well, any STR's currently registered for TOT will need to re-register with the Tax Collector's office to complete the permitting process. Please fill out the new registration and waiver forms and return the original documents with a wet signature to PO Box 376, Downieville CA 95936. 

Registration Form

Waiver of release of information

*** EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2021, THE TOT TAX IS 12.5% ***

What is it?

Transient occupancy tax (TOT), also known as "bed tax", is a voter approved tax collected from lodgers when they rent a motel room, campsite or RV space in the county for 30 days or less. The tax is 12.5% of the total bill for lodging and assists in paying for general county services such as law enforcement, ambulances, parks and promotion of tourism.

I am offering for rent a vacation home, motel units, campsites or RV spaces. How do I register to collect the tax? 

Complete the TOT Registration Form and return it to the Tax Collector.

How can I find out more about collecting the TOT?

The TOT handbook is a handy reference and the County Code for TOT is the enacting county law.

 Is the TOT quarterly return available online?

Yes. Please mail your original signed return to our office by the due date. Emailed returns will not be accepted as timely.  TOT Return form

Unsure whether you are required to collect the transient occupancy tax?

Contact the Tax Collector's Office because failure to collect the tax on behalf of the county is a violation of the Sierra County Code. TOT Handbook

What do I do if I am no longer renting on a transient basis? 

Fill out a claim of exemption from collecting transient occupancy tax.

What if I rent for more than 30 days?

You do not have to collect the 12.5% tax and a non-transient certificate must be signed by the occupant of their intent to stay over 30 days.