Vacationing in Tulare County? Lookout for New Tax

Tulare County, Calif. Quaint, waterfront homes in Three Rivers which sit just a mile from Sequoia National Park can be the ideal place for people wanting to rent a home for vacation.

Renters may see an added tax to their bill. Tulare County Supervisors just passed an ordinance requiring property owners renting out a room or their houses for more than 15 days during the year -- to pay a 10% occupancy tax.

People are allowed to rent out their homes tax-free if they do so for under 15 days a year. But when the economy started to decline, Supervisor Allen Ishida says the board noticed people were renting their homes out for longer -- in order to bring in the extra income.

Tulare Co. Supervisor, Allen Ishida said, "And some people were renting their homes out for periods of time which exceeded the 15 days that was allowable."

Ishida says this gave these vacation homes an unfair advantage over area motels which are already paying occupancy taxes.

"The people who were doing this didn't necessarily know that they owed this tax so it's kind of in plain text they can see in plain form they do owe taxes when they do rent rooms or homes out for more than 15 days in a year," said Ishida.

While supervisors say passing the tax was not to generate more money into the county's general fund, it is expected to bring in an extra $10,000 a year.

Three Rivers real estate agent, Bill Haxton, says the county ultimately may not even see that much money from the new tax.

"Families have moved out, young families, and have been mostly replaced by people who are either retiring or planning to retire up here," said Haxton.

Haxton says many of these new homeowners aren't necessarily looking to rent out their homes. He says they either live there or use them as their own vacation homes.

The new vacation home occupancy tax will go into effect on May 27th.

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