ORDINANCE NO. 2046

An Ordinance Amending Title 5 of the Hood River Municipal Code,
by amending Chapter 9 (Re-titled Transient Lodging Tax).

 The Hood River City Council adopts the following findings:


 WHEREAS, the City of Hood River is an Oregon home-rule charter municipal corporation with a City Charter that grants it all the powers and authority that the constitution, statutes and common law of the United States and this State expressly or impliedly grant or allow as though each such power was specifically enumerated; and

WHEREAS, the City’s transient lodging tax was last updated in 1996; and

WHEREAS, periodic updates to municipal code is necessary to keep the language current with changes in the transient rental industry, particularly relative to new online booking services; and

WHEREAS, the League of Oregon Cities provides model transient lodging tax language for its member cities to emulate.

 NOW THEREFORE, the City Council for the City of Hood River ordains that Title 5, Chapter 9, of the Hood River Municipal Code is hereby amended as set forth in Exhibit A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference.
READ FOR THE FIRST TIME this _____ day of June 2018. 
 
READ FOR THE SECOND TIME and adopted this _____ day of June 2018.  This Ordinance shall take effect on the 31st day following the second reading.

 

 

__________________________
Paul Blackburn, Mayor

 

Attest:

 

    
Jennifer Gray, City Recorder  Approved as to Form:

 

     
Daniel Kearns, City Attorney



EXHIBIT A

HRMC Chapter 5.09
Transient Lodging Tax (TLT)

 Legislative History: Ord. 1500 (1981); Ord. 1582 (1986); Ord. 1609 (1988); Ord. 1727, (1996); Ord. 2046 (2018)

Section

5.09.010 – Title
5.09.020 – Definitions
5.09.030 – Tax Imposed
5.09.040 – Collection of Tax by Local Tax Trustee
5.09.050 – Short-term Rental Hosting Platform Fees
5.09.060 – Liability for Tax
5.09.070 – Exemptions
5.09.080 – Registration of Operator, Form and Contents, Execution, Certificate of Authority
5.09.090 – Remittance of Tax to the City and Filing of Returns
5.09.100 – Penalties and Interest
5.09.110 – Deficiency Determination, Fraud, Evasion, and Local Tax Trustee Delay
5.09.120 – Redeterminations
5.09.130 – Collections
5.09.140 – Lien
5.09.150 – Refunds
5.09.160 – Administration
5.09.170 – Appeals to City Council
5.09.180 – Severability
5.09.190 – Penalty

 

5.09.010 TITLE.  The Hood River Municipal Code Chapter 5.09 is hereby titled "Transient Lodging Tax" and those sections and subsections that are hereafter set forth.


5.09.020 – DEFINITIONS. The following definitions apply in this chapter.

A.  Booking Service means any reservation and/or payment service provided by a person or entity that facilitates a short-term rental transaction between a host and a prospective occupant, and for which the person or entity collects or receives, directly or indirectly through an agent or intermediary, a fee in connection with the reservation and/or payment services provided for the short-term rental transaction. Booking services include directly or indirectly accepting, receiving or facilitating payment, whether or not the person or entity is the ultimate recipient of the payment, including through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) or other computerized devices where third-party providers receive information about a transaction and collect funds for the transient lodging occupancy from an occupant.

B.  Host means the owner or person who resides at the short-term rental or has been designated by the owner or resident of the short-term rental and who rents out the short-term rental for transient lodging occupancy either directly or through the use of a hosting platform.

C.  Hosting Platform means a person or entity that participates in the short-term rental business by collecting or receiving a fee for booking services through which a host may offer a transient lodging facility. Hosting platforms usually, though not necessarily, provide booking services through an online platform that allows a host to advertise the transient lodging through a website provided by the hosting platform and provides a means for the hosting platform to conduct a transaction by which prospective occupants arrange transient lodging and payment, whether occupant pays rent directly to the host or to the hosting platform.

D.  Local Tax Trustee means the operator or hosting platform or designee thereof that accepts, receives or facilitates the payment directly from the occupant, whether or not the operator or hosting platform is the ultimate recipient of the payment.

E.  Occupancy means the right to the use or possession of any space in transient lodging for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes for 30 or fewer days, for which compensation (rent) is paid by the occupant.

F.  Occupant means any individual who exercises occupancy or is entitled to occupancy in transient lodging for a period of 30 or fewer consecutive calendar days, counting portions of calendar days as full days.

G.  Operator means:
(1) Any person who provides transient lodging for occupancy to the general public for compensation (rent).  Furnishing accommodations can be done via employees, contractors, agents or any other person or entity allowed to process reservations and accept payment for the transient lodging on behalf of the transient lodging provider; or
(2) Any person who facilitates the reservations of an accommodation and collects the payment for the transient lodging reservation from the occupant; or
(3) Any transient lodging provider, transient lodging intermediary, or transient lodging tax collector as defined in ORS 320.300.

H.  Person means any individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, limited liability company, corporation, limited liability partnership, association, host, social club, fraternal organization, fraternity, sorority, public or private dormitory, joint stock company, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, trustee, syndicate, or any other group or combination acting as a unit.

I.  Rent means the consideration paid or payable by an occupant for the occupancy of space in transient lodging valued in money, goods, labor, credits, property, or other consideration paid in exchange for use of the transient lodging.  If a separate fee is charged for services, goods or commodities and the fee is optional, that fee is not included in or considered rent.  Workforce housing provided by an employer, where there is no rent or payroll deduction paid by the employee is presumed to not involve the payment of rent.

J.  Short-Term Rental means a house, duplex, multi-plex, apartment, condominium, houseboat, trailer or other residential dwelling unit where a person rents guest bedrooms or the entire residential dwelling unit for transient lodging occupancy.  Generally, a short-term rental is zoned residential or has a building occupancy that only allows for residential use.

K.  Tax Administrator means the Hood River City Recorder, or any agent of the City authorized by written agreement to act as the City’s tax administrator, including the Oregon Department of Revenue pursuant to an agreement with the city under ORS 305.620 and any applicable administrative rules adopted by the Oregon Department of Revenue.

L.  Transient Lodging or Transient Lodging Facilities means: (1) Hotel, motel, inn, bed & breakfast, hosted homeshare, vacation home rental, and any dwelling unit(s) used for temporary overnight human occupancy; (2) Spaces used for overnight parking of recreational vehicles or placement of tents during periods of human occupancy; or (3) Houses, cabins, condominiums, apartment units or other dwelling units, or portions of any of these dwelling units that are used for temporary human occupancy.

M.  TLT or tax means the transient lodging tax.

N.  Workforce housing means temporary, short-term housing provided to an employee by an employer while the employee is working in the local area and there is no rent or payroll deduction paid by the employee for the lodging.


5.09.030 - TAX IMPOSED.

A.  Each occupant shall pay a TLT in the amount of 8% of the rent.  The occupant shall pay the TLT with the rent to the local tax trustee.  TLT amounts shall be rounded down to the nearest cent.  The local tax trustee shall maintain records of all rent charged and TLT payments received.  If rent is paid in installments, a proportionate share of the TLT shall be paid by the occupant to the local tax trustee with each installment unless the occupant pays the entire amount with the first payment.

B.  Bills, receipts or invoices provided to occupants shall list the city TLT separately and must accurately state the amount of tax.  All amounts listed as TLT on invoices, bills or receipts must be reported as TLT and, after collection, must be turned over to the city, less the 5% of the net TLT due as an administrative charge.


5.09.040 - COLLECTION OF TAX BY LOCAL TAX TRUSTEE.

A.  Every local tax trustee shall collect the TLT at the time rent is paid, unless an exemption applies.  If payment is by credit card, for purposes of this section, payment is made at the time credit card information is provided to local tax trustee, not when the local tax trustee ultimately receives credit for the transaction.  While holding the payment in trust for the city, a local tax trustee may commingle the tax proceeds with the local tax trustee’s funds, but the local tax trustee is not the owner of tax proceeds, except that, when a return is filed, the local tax trustee becomes the owner of the administrative fee authorized to be retained.  Local tax trustees may choose to file returns and remit payment based on amounts accrued but not yet collected.  The local tax trustee is liable for any TLT that should have been collected from the occupant, except in cases of nonpayment of rent by the occupant.

B.  Upon request of the city, local tax trustees must provide all physical addresses of transient lodging facilities within the city limits and the related contact information, including the name and mailing address, of the general manager, agent, owner, host or other responsible person for the location.

C.  The local tax trustee shall remit TLT collected pursuant to this Chapter and submit reports to the City’s Tax Administrator on a monthly basis in accordance with Section 5.09.090.


5.09.050 - SHORT-TERM RENTAL HOSTING PLATFORM FEES.  A hosting platform for short-term rentals may collect a fee for booking services in connection with short-term rentals only when those short-term rentals are lawfully registered as operators with the city and possess a certificate of authority at the time the short-term rental is advertised, booked and occupied.


5.09.060 - LIABILITY FOR TAX.  Operators who receive any portion of the rent and any hosting platform that provides booking service shall be jointly and severally liable for the TLT due.


5.09.070 – EXEMPTIONS.  No TLT shall be imposed upon:

A.  A dwelling unit in a hospital, health care facility, long-term care facility or any other residential facility that is licensed, registered or certified by the Oregon Department of Human Services or the Oregon Health Authority;

B.  A dwelling unit in a facility providing treatment for drug or alcohol abuse or providing mental health treatment;

C.  A dwelling unit that is used by members of the general public for temporary human occupancy for fewer than 30 days per year;

D.  A dwelling unit, the consideration for which is funded through a contract with a government agency and the purpose of which is to provide emergency or temporary shelter;

E.  A dwelling unit at a nonprofit youth or church camp, nonprofit conference center or other nonprofit facility; or

F.  A dwelling unit that is leased or otherwise occupied by the same person for 30 or more consecutive days during the year.  The requirements of this subsection are satisfied even if the occupant changes the physical dwelling unit during the 30-day consecutive period, if:

(1) All dwelling units occupied are within the same facility; and
(2) The person paying consideration for the transient lodging is the same person throughout the consecutive period.

G.  Workforce housing as defined in HRMC 5.09.020.
 

5.09.080 - REGISTRATION OF OPERATOR, FORM AND CONTENTS, EXECUTION, CERTIFICATION OF AUTHORITY.

A.  Every person engaging or about to engage in business as an operator shall provide a
completed registration form to the tax administrator within 15 calendar days after commencing business.  The registration form shall require the operator to provide the name of the business, any separate business address, and other information as the tax administrator may require to implement this Chapter.  Operators who own or operate transient lodging facilities in Hood River shall provide the address of the lodging facility.  The registration form shall be signed by the Operator.  The tax administrator shall, within 15 days after registration, issue without charge a certificate of authority to collect the TLT.  The obligation to collect the TLT is imposed once rent for transient lodging is paid, even if the registration form has not been filed or if the certificate has not been issued.  If rent transaction is facilitated online, the certificate of authority must be able to be viewed by the occupant by clicking on a link to the certificate of authority at a reasonable place during the payment transaction.

B.  Certificates shall be nonassignable and nontransferable, and shall be surrendered to the tax administrator when the business is sold or transferred or when a lodging facility ceases to operate at the location specified in the registration form.  Each certificate issued to an operator for a specific lodging facility shall be prominently displayed at the lodging facility and include:

(1) The name of the operator;
(2) The address of the transient lodging facility;
(3) The date the certificate was issued; and
(4) The certificate number as assigned by the tax administrator.


5.09.090 – REMITTANCE OF TAX TO THE CITY AND FILING RETURNS.

A.  Local tax trustees shall submit a completed tax return form to the tax administrator on a monthly basis on the fifteenth day of the month reporting the amount of tax due during the preceding month and accompanied by remittance of all tax collected, less a 5% administration fee.

B.  The local tax trustee is entitled to the 5% administration fee.  If a transient lodging facility has multiple operators, they are not entitled to retain additional fees.

C.  Remittances are delinquent if not made by the fifteenth day of the month following the month in which they are collected.

D.  Returns shall show the gross rents collected, taxable rents, the total amount of TLT collected and the amount of the administrative fee retained by the local tax trustee.  Returns shall also show the exempt and excluded rents and the basis for exemptions and exclusions.

E.  Tax returns and remittances shall be submitted on forms and by methods specified by the tax administrator, which may be in person or by mail or electronically via a City of Hood River provided payment platform.  If the return and remittance is mailed, the postmark shall be considered the date of delivery.

F.  The tax administrator may extend the time for making any return or remittance of the tax by up to 30 days.  No further extension shall be granted, except by the city council. Any local tax trustee to whom an extension is granted shall pay interest at the rate of 10% per month on the net TLT due without proration for a fraction of a month.  If a return is not filed, and the remittance and interest due is not paid by the end of the extension granted, then the interest shall become a part of the tax for computation of penalties.


5.09.100 - PENALTIES AND INTEREST.

A.  Original Delinquency and First Penalty.  Any operator who has not been granted an extension of time for delivery of return and payment of tax due, and who fails to remit any tax imposed by this chapter when due, shall pay a penalty of 10% of the amount of the tax due in addition to the amount of the tax.

B.  Continued Delinquency and Second Penalty.  Any operator who has not been granted an extension of time for remittance of tax due, and who has failed to pay any delinquent remittance on or before a period of 30 days following the date on which the remittance first became delinquent, shall pay an additional (second) penalty of 15% of the amount of the tax due, plus the amount of the tax and the 10% penalty first imposed.

C.  Interest on Delinquent Amounts.  In addition to the penalties imposed, any operator who fails to remit any tax imposed by this ordinance shall pay simple interest at the rate of 1% per 30 day period or fraction thereof, without proration for portions of the 30 day period, on the amount of the tax due, exclusive of penalties, from the date on which the remittance first became delinquent until paid.

D.  Penalties Merged With Tax.  Every penalty imposed and such interest as accrues under the provisions of this section shall be merged with and become a part of the tax herein required to be paid.

E.  Petition For Waiver of Penalty.  Any operator who fails to deliver the return and pay the tax herein levied within the time herein stated shall pay the penalties herein stated; provided, however, the operator may petition the City Council for waiver and refund of the penalty or any portion thereof, and the City Council may, if a good and sufficient reason is shown, waive and direct a refund of a penalty or any portion thereof.  (Ord. 1500 (part), 1981)


5.09.110 - DEFICIENCY DETERMINATION, FRAUD, EVASION, AND LOCAL TAX TRUSTEE DELAY.

A.  Deficiency Determination. The tax administrator may review tax returns and adjust the amount due based on the information in the return, on information obtained during a review or audit of records, or on the basis of other credible evidence.  In the event of a deficiency, the tax administrator shall provide notice of the deficiency to the local tax trustee, who shall remit the deficient amount within 10 business days of the deficiency notice.  Notice may be by personal delivery or certified or registered mail.

(1) In reviewing and adjusting tax returns, the tax administrator shall offset any amount received in excess of the remittances due against any shortages in remittances.

(2) Except in the case of fraud or intent to evade the TLT, notice of deficiency determinations shall be issued within 3 years of the period for which the deficiency determination is made.

(3) The time to remit deficient payment amounts under this section shall be extended if the local tax trustee timely requests a redetermination.

B.  Fraud – Refusal to Collect – Evasion.  If any local tax trustee fails to collect, report or remit the tax as required, submits a fraudulent return, or otherwise violates or attempts to violate this chapter, the tax administrator shall estimate the tax due, and calculate the amount owing from the local tax trustee for tax remittance, interest and penalties and provide notice to the local tax trustee of the assessment.  The determination and notice of deficiency shall be made and mailed within 3 years of the discovery by the tax administrator of the violation.  The deficiency is due and payable upon receipt of notice and shall become final 10 business days after the date notice was delivered unless the tax trustee files a petition for redetermination.


5.09.120 – REDETERMINATIONS.

A.  Any person affected by a determination may file a petition for redetermination with the tax administrator within 10 business days of service of notice of the tax deficiency.  A determination becomes final if a petition for redetermination is not timely filed.

B.  If a petition for redetermination is filed within the allowable period, the tax administrator shall reconsider the determination and grant an oral hearing if requested.  The petitioner shall be allowed at least 20 business days to prepare for the hearing.

C.  After considering the petition and all available information, the tax administrator shall issue a redetermination decision and mail the decision to the petitioner.  During the redetermination process, the tax administrator may agree to a compromise of the amount due if there is a good faith dispute over the amount owing.

D.  The decision of the tax administrator on redetermination becomes final and payment is due 10 business days after the decision is mailed unless the petitioner files an appeal to the city council within that time.  Any such appeal shall be filed with the tax administrator in accordance with HRMC 5.09.170.  The city council’s decision shall be final when reduced to writing and mailed to the petitioner, and all amounts due shall be paid within 10 business days of mailing of the city council decision.  The city council’s decision is final.


5.09.130 – COLLECTIONS.

A.  The city may bring legal action to collect on any amounts owed to the city under this chapter within 3 years after a remittance is due to the city or within 3 years after any determination of deficiency becomes final.

B.  The city shall be entitled to collect reasonable attorneys’ fee in any legal action brought to collect on amount owed to the city under this chapter.


5.09.140 – LIEN.  The city may record a lien in the city’s lien docket against any real property owned by an operator who receives any portion of the rent from a transient lodging facility located within the city as to any delinquent remittances by the operator.  The City’s lien shall have priority ahead of all other liens except as prohibited by any applicable law.  The City’s lien may be foreclosed as a municipal assessment lien pursuant to ORS 223.505 to 223.595 or through any other legal process. 


5.09.150 – REFUNDS.
A.  Refunds by the City to the Local Tax Trustee.  If the local tax trustee remits more tax, penalty or interest than is due, the local tax trustee may file a claim in writing stating the facts relating to the claim, within 3 years from the date of remittance.  If the claim is approved by the tax administrator, the excess amount shall either be refunded or credited on any amount due from the local tax trustee.

B.  Refunds by City to Occupant.  A local tax trustee may file a claim for refund by filing a claim in writing within 3 years of payment providing the facts relating to the claim for refund.  If the tax administrator determines that the tax was collected and remitted to the city and the occupant was not required to pay the tax or overpaid, the city shall issue a refund.

C.  Refunds by Local Tax Trustee to Occupant.  If an occupant has paid tax to a local tax trustee, but then stays a total of 30 or more consecutive days, the local tax trustee shall refund to the occupant any tax collected for any portion of the continuous stay.  The local tax trustee shall account for the collection and refund to the tax administrator.  If the local tax trustee has remitted the tax prior to the refund or credit to the occupant, the local tax trustee shall be entitled to a corresponding refund or offset if the claim for refund is filed within three years from the date of collection.

D.  Burden of Proof.  The person claiming the refund shall have the burden of proving the facts that establish the basis for the refund.


5.09.160 – ADMINISTRATION.

A. Tourist Promotion Fund. A special fund called the “the tourist promotion fund” shall be established for the purpose of promoting tourism within the City of Hood River.  The tax administrator shall deposit 25% of all money collected under the provisions of this chapter to the credit of the tourist promotion fund.  All moneys paid to this account shall be used for the promotion of tourism.  The City is authorized to enter into a contract with Hood River County Chamber of Commerce or to otherwise act as the council may see fit to carry out this purpose. (Ord. 1727,1996)

B.  Records Required from Local Tax Trustee.  Every local tax trustee shall keep records of each transaction involving rent and/or collection of TLT.  All records shall be retained for at least 3 years and 6 months from the date of the record.

C.  Examination of Records – Investigations.  The City’s tax administrator or the City’s agent for purposes of administering this program may examine all records of a local tax trustee relating to receipt of rent and TLT and remittance of tax during normal business hours and may obtain copies of the records to audit returns.

D.  Authority of Tax Administrator.  The tax administrator shall have the power to enforce this chapter, conduct audits, and to adopt rules, regulations and forms consistent with this chapter.  Rules and regulations of general application shall be mailed to all registered operators.  The tax administrator may also issue written interpretations on request of a local tax trustee.  As to the local tax trustee to whom the interpretation is issued, the city will act consistently with the interpretation until it is withdrawn, and the city shall provide 30 days’ written notice of withdrawal of an interpretation.

E.  Confidential Character of Information Obtained – Disclosure Unlawful.  The city shall maintain the confidentiality of information provided by local tax trustees.  Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent:

(1) The disclosure to, or the examination of records and equipment by, another city official, employee or agent for collection of taxes for the purpose of administering or enforcing any provisions of this chapter or collecting city business license fees.

(2) Disclosure of information to the local tax trustee and the local tax trustee’s agents.

(3) The disclosure of the names and addresses of any persons to whom certificates of authority have been issued.

(4) The disclosure of general statistics regarding taxes collected or business done in the city.

(5) Disclosures required by ORS Chapter 192.

(6) Disclosures required by ORS Chapter 297.


5.09.170 - APPEALS TO CITY COUNCIL.  Any person aggrieved by any decision of the tax administrator may appeal to the city council by filing a written appeal with the tax administrator within 10 business days of the serving or mailing of the decision being appealed.  The city manager shall schedule the hearing on a city council agenda and provide the appellant notice of the hearing at least 10 business days before the hearing.  The city council may agree to a compromise of the amount of tax remittance if there is a good faith dispute over the amount owing.  Any person may appeal the issuance of a rule or regulation issued by the tax administrator to the city council by filing a written appeal within 10 business days of the mailing of the notice of the regulation.


5.09.180 – SEVERABILITY.  If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter, or any part thereof, is for any reason held to be unconstitutional (or otherwise invalid), such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter or any part thereof.  The council declares that it would have passed each section, subsection, subdivision, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, subdivisions, paragraphs, sentences, clauses or paragraphs be declared unconstitutional or otherwise invalid.  (Ord. 1500, 1981) 


5.09.190 – PENALTY.   A violation of this chapter is a civil infraction that may be enforced through HRMC Chapter 1.10.  Each day that a violation remains uncured is a separate citable infraction.