Transient Occupancy Tax Frequently Asked Questions

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What’s A Transient Rental?

Transient rentals are those units that are occupied for sleeping, lodging, and other reasons for less than 30 days or in exchange for other purposes such as trade or barter situations. Also known as STR’s (Short Term Rentals) or Vacation Rentals.

**Do you need a list of what is expected of you before your Airbnb / VRBO home inspection? click here for the form your TOT Officer will use when inspecting your property.**

Mammoth Lakes TOT Compliance Form

Are There Laws Regarding Transient Rentals?

Some of the zones that are located within Mammoth Lakes allow for transient occupancy rental services. Here are the zones allowing for transient rentals:

  • Residential 2 Multi-Family or RMF-2
  • Commercial Lodging CL
  • Commercial General CG
  • Resort, this includes master plan areas R
  • Specific Plan, This includes North Village as well as Clearwater SP

Zoning maps can be found here: The zoning map is intended only as a guide. While the above zones allow for transient use, other regulations must be considered including master plans, CC&Rs as well as specific conditions concerning the various projects that may not allow for transient rentals in specific development areas. Typically, single-family homes as transient rentals are not allowed.

What’s Transient Occupancy Tax or The Acronym TOT?

The tax is charged at 13 percent for the privilege of transient facilities. This is to be paid to the facility at the time of the rental payment. The operator must remit this to the Town.

What’s a Tourism Business Improvement District or TBID?

This benefit assessment district has been developed and created to help in the funding of marketing as well as sales promotion efforts for the tourism business in Mammoth Lakes. Lodging businesses, regardless of the annual gross revenue, is to pay the assessment of 1 percent on all of the bookings. More information can be found here:

TOT Compliance Mammoth Lakes CA

Do you need To Pay Both TOT And TBID?

If you’re renting a unit as a rental for transients, even if you’re only renting it out annually for a weekend, you must remit both the 13 percent TOT and the 1 percent TBID as per the total gross rentals that are received. These gross rentals include non-refundable costs that are due at the time of the booking. These charges include cleaning fees, pet fees, and any other fees that are included in the transient rental.

Will I Have To File A Monthly Return If There’s No Rental Activity?

Yes, even if you have no rental activity, you’ll need to file the Monthly Return for the TOT and the TBID when you have no rentals for any specific monthly to avoid any assessment penalties. You may do this online or you may use the available paper form.

Do I Require A Business Certificate?

If you’re running a rental transient unit, you must have a business certificate.

Will I Also Require A Transient Occupancy Certificate?

You will also be required to obtain a Transient Occupancy Certificate for every transient rental unit that you choose to register on your Business Certificate. You’ll need to submit the Transient Occupancy Certificate application along with your Business Certificate Application.

What’s The Difference Between A Certificate And the Transient?

Occupancy Tax Certificate

This tax is annual and must be done for business activities that happen within the Town Of Mammoth Lakes. You’ll have to renew your Tax Certificate annually to comply. The Transient Occupancy Tax Certificate is something you must buy. This is non-transferable. It must be posted in the transient unit.

Will I Require A Business Certificate If I Use A Reservation Company To Handle My Business?

No, if you’re using a Reservation Company, your rentals will be handled through their agency and they’ll be the ones that are responsible for the taxes. They will be the ones to collect the TOT and remit the TOT as well as the TBID to the Township. You should still check with them to ensure that it’s being done in compliance.

I Use A Reservation Company, If I Rent To Friends A Few Times Annually How Do I Go About This?

You’ll have to have the Business Tax Certificate in hand if you’re handling any rentals directly. This includes any advertising as well as rentals. However, if you’re leaving all of it to the reservation company, they will handle all of the TOT and the TBID that is required. Again, double-check with the rental company before assuming what you are and are not liable for.

How Should I Apply For My Tax Certificates?

The Town website contains vital information regarding the Business Tax and the Transient Occupancy Tax Certificates. These include options for downloading the forms and printing them out. Keep in mind that Transient rentals will fall under Tax Schedule F for condo rentals and Schedule E for hotels, lodges, motels, and even campgrounds. Your completed application can be filled out and mailed to the Finance Department or you can submit it in person. For more information or if you have any questions, you can reach us in the Finance Department at 760.965.3660. They can readily answer any questions that you may have regarding your certificate.

What’s Legal And Illegal Rental Activity?

Illegal activity is a rental activity that isn’t consistent with the ordinance and zoning laws for the Town. Any rental activity that isn’t compliant with the Occupancy and Tax Ordinance laws is illegal. This includes transient rentals for units located in zones that prohibit rentals for transients. It may also include such units that are located in permit zones. The operator must have the required permits to comply. If the permits aren’t in hand, then it’s an illegal activity and will fall within the parameters of such.

Where do I find a Licensed Home Inspection Service to Review My Home For Airbnb Compliance?

We have a list of licensed home inspection service providers who can review your property for TOT compliance, feel free to reach out to us for more information.

Do you need a list of what is expected of you before your Airbnb / VRBO home inspection? click here for the form your TOT Officer will use when inspecting your property.

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