By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

TOT revenue is up 4.4 percent countywide, 65.9 percent in Bonsall, 34.2 percent in Pauma

 

Last updated 3/4/2019 at 11:27am



On a countywide basis, the Transient Occupancy Tax revenue collected for fiscal year 2017-2018 was up 4.4 percent from the 2016-2017 figure, and the increases compared to the previous year were 65.1 percent in Bonsall and 34.2 percent in Pauma.

TOT payments must be postmarked by the last day of the month following of the end of the quarter. If the payment is either late or postmarked by the deadline and not processed by the sixth of the following month, the revenue is reported for the quarter after the money was collected. This reporting resulted in a 24.0 percent decrease in Fallbrook collections compared to the previous year including an 84.9 percent fourth-quarter decrease.

The countywide TOT collection for 2017-2018 was $5,105,749.14. The county collected $4,888,905.47 for lodging during 2016-2017.

“I think that speaks to the attractiveness of San Diego as a destination,” Dan McAllister, the treasurer and tax collector for San Diego County, said.

McAllister was first elected to the Treasurer-Tax Collector office in November 2002. He is a lifelong San Diego County resident and a Mission Bay High School graduate.

“In many respects every little part of San Diego has something unique about it, and it’s all positive,” McAllister said. “Each and every one of these destinations has its own charm and its own savor.”

The Transient Occupancy Tax, which was reduced from 9 percent of the lodging unit rate to 8 percent in October 2007, is collected from occupants of hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfast venues, mobile home parks, private campgrounds and other structures occupied or intended for occupancy by non-residents for lodging or sleeping purposes. A timeshare unit used by an ownership partner or an owner’s guest is not subject to the TOT, although if it is rented to the general public that unit is subject to the tax for that period. If a campground has a membership program a member or a member’s guest is exempt from TOT payments.


Campgrounds at the eight county parks with such facilities are not subject to the TOT, nor are lodging facilities on Indian reservations or other areas where San Diego County has no taxing power. A federal or state of California officer or employee on official business is exempt from the tax as is any foreign government officer or employee exempt under federal law or international treaty. The tax is not collected if the regular rent is four dollars a day or less or if the lodger receives a free room where the only consideration received is publicity for the lodging site. Units occupied or rented for more than 30 consecutive days are not subject to the tax.


The facility operator must submit payment to the county on a quarterly basis by the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. If the facility ceases operation the payment must be made within 30 days after the operator ceases doing business, and if the facility is sold or its name is changed the county must receive the TOT payments for occupancy before the sale or name change within 30 days of the transaction.

If the payment is postmarked by the end of the month following the quarter but not received by the end of that month, there is no penalty. The penalty for a payment one month late is 6 percent plus interest, the penalty for payments two month late is 12 percent plus interest, and 1 percent is added for each subsequent month.

The TOT is collected only from lodging facilities in the county's unincorporated area, although the revenue is used for the county’s Community Enhancement program and may be given to organizations in incorporated cities as well as unincorporated communities. Community Enhancement funds, which are allocated during the county’s annual budget process, are intended to promote tourism including visitors from other parts of the county.

“It gets put to good use,” McAllister said.

The community with the highest collection amount is Rancho Santa Fe, which collected $1,646,513.40 for 2017-2018 compared to $1,402,129.90 from 2016-2017 lodgers. Several factors cause Rancho Santa Fe to lead the county.

“It’s one of the closest to the coast destinations in rural San Diego,” McAllister said.

The upscale atmosphere creates a combination of higher rates and an appeal to lodgers seeking luxury.

“If you’re going to spend an elegant weekend why not pick Rancho Santa Fe?” McAllister said.

Rancho Santa Fe is also the closest unincorporated community to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, which has had a summer meet every year since the end of World War II and a fall meet each year since 2014. In 2014, second-quarter TOT revenue increased from the previous year by 43.8 percent in Rancho Santa Fe and 12.6 percent countywide, while for the first quarter of that year revenue was up 25.4 percent for Rancho Santa Fe and 25.3 percent countywide.


Del Mar was the site of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup, and for that second quarter TOT revenue was up 31.3 percent over 2016 for Rancho Santa Fe and 10.2 percent countywide. For the first quarter TOT payments increased by 7.3 percent on a countywide basis and by 4.4 percent in Rancho Santa Fe.

“I’m sure it had an impact,” McAllister said of the Breeders’ Cup.

Fallbrook collected $445,830.32 of 2016-2017 TOT revenue and $338,613.53 of 2017-2018 payments not including what will be counted for the first quarter of 2018-2019 rather than the fourth quarter of 2017-2018. Bonsall’s revenue increased from $9,270.71 for 2016-2017 to $15,514.92 for 2017-2018. Pauma had $50,818.13 of 2016-2017 collections and $68,236.69 of 2017-2018 payments.

The county’s first-quarter 2017-2018 collections totaled $1,390,914.05 including $137,731.64 of Fallbrook payments, $15,612.49 of Pauma revenue and $5,625.52 from Bonsall lodging facilities. For the 2016 July through September period, the countywide total was $1,295,665.74, including $139,830.28 from Fallbrook lodgers, $6,136.20 generated in Pauma and $3,072.10 provided by Bonsall facilities.

The October through December period resulted in countywide totals of $1,169,171.01 for 2016 and $1,289,142.52 in 2017, including the Rancho Santa Fe increase from $321,629.98 to $422,274.92. Fallbrook collected $96,434.41 from 2016 lodgers and had 2017 payments of $58,720.47, not including what was processed late enough to be counted as third-quarter rather than second-quarter revenue. Pauma payments increased from $15,879.51 to $15,925.21. Bonsall quarterly revenue increased from $3,485.19 to $3,891.71.

The countywide figure for the third quarter from January 2018 to March 2018 was $1,294,552.48. During those months in 2017 the county generated $1,171,731.01 of TOT revenue. Including late-processed payments, Fallbrook had $122,651.83 of 2018 quarterly revenue, compared to $74,432.59 for 2017. Pauma provided $12,894.00 in 2017 and $11,553.82 for 2018. Bonsall quarterly revenue increased from $1,315.64 to $4,402.70.

Fourth-quarter countywide revenue, not including what was not processed by Aug. 6, was down from $1,252,328.21 for 2017 to $1,131,140.09 in 2018. The decline included a drop from $129,521.81 to $19,509.59 in Fallbrook. Pauma fourth-quarter collections increased from $15,928.42 to $25,145.17. Bonsall lodgers generated $1,417.18 in 2017 and $1,594.99 in 2018.

“We can always use more, and we appreciate all we can get,” McAllister said. “It’s good that the hoteliers and rental places are as strong as they are in payment. I’m very proud of the businesses in San Diego County.”

 

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