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Transient Occupancy Tax

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)?

A. The Transient Occupancy Tax is a tax owed to the City by anyone who occupies a room for less than 31 days in a hotel (O.M.C. 5.16.020 section A) located within the City of Orange. This tax must be paid to the hotel on behalf of the City of Orange (O.M.C. 5.16.030 and 5.16.020).

Q. How does the City of Orange define the term "transient"?

A. A transient is any person who has occupancy for a period of less than thirty-one (31) consecutive days. Occupants completing thirty-one (31) or more consecutive days may no longer pay the transient occupancy tax (O.M.C. 5.16.020 section G). The hotel operator takes this allowable deduction on line three (3) of the tax return.

Q. Are Vacational Rental Operators required to collect Transient Occupancy Tax?

A. Yes. The term "hotel" means any structure which is intended for occupancy by transients for dwelling, lodging or sleeping purposes, and includes: inns, tourist homes or houses, rooming houses, apartment houses, mobile homes, and other similar structures (O.M.C. 5.16.020 section A).

Q. Are certain guests exempt from paying the Transient Occupancy Tax?

A. Yes. In general, Foreign Dignitaries, all on-duty employees for the American Red Cross, Federal Credit Union employees on official business, and Federal Government employees on official business are exempt. The guest must complete the City of Orange Certificate of Tax Exemption form, which must be kept by the hotel operator (O.M.C. 5.16.040). Note: State Government, County, and local government employees are not exempt. Contractors hired by government agencies are not exempt.  Non-profit groups are not exempt.

Q. How much is the Transient Occupancy Tax for the City of Orange?

A. The Transient Occupancy Tax is ten percent (10%) of the rent charged to the transient by the hotel operator (O.M.C. 5.16.030).

Q. Does the hotel operator need to use the City of Orange tax form?

A. Yes. The Tax Administrator provides the monthly tax form to be used. You can access the form from this website, or receive a year's supply of customized forms via the mail (O.M.C. 5.16.070).

Q. When is the Transient Occupancy Tax due?

A. Transient Occupancy Taxes are due the last day of the month following the reporting month. For instance, taxes collected during the month of May must be paid to the City by the last day of June to avoid penalties and interest (O.M.C. 5.16.070 and 5.16.080). All taxes are also due immediately after closing or selling of the business for any reason.

Q. Are postmark dates valid in determining the delinquency of Transient Occupancy Taxes?

A. No. Payments must be received by the Tax Administrator on or before the stated due date (O.M.C. 5.16.070).

Q. Does the City of Orange waive penalties and interest under certain circumstances?

A. No. The City of Orange does not waive any penalties or interest. However, once the Tax Administrator has rendered an opinion on the matter there is an appeal process available (O.M.C. 5.16.100).

Q. May I use a credit card to pay my Transient Occupancy Tax via e-mail or fax?

A. Yes, but both the credit card and tax forms must be accurately completed and have signatures on them. Please note: They must be faxed or emailed to our office before the City Hall's last working day of the month. If the forms are incorrect and have not been received before the deadline, they will be considered delinquent. Payments must be less than $5,000.00 to be accepted. Once forms are completed, fax to (714) 288-2170 or e-mail them to Central TOT Mailbox.

Q. Is a hotel required to have a business license?

A. Yes, In addition to a valid Certificate of Registration (O.M.C. 5.16.060), the operator must maintain a current Business License (O.M.C. 5.02.040).

Q. Where can I find support if I have concerns or require additional assistance with my TOT forms? 

A. Please reference the Orange Municipal Code, e-mail us at Central TOT Mailbox or call (714) 744-2239 for assistance.

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