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Office of Management & Finance

Revenue Bureau

Revenue is being re-organized under the Bureau of Revenue and Financial Services.

Phone: 503-823-5157

Arts Tax: 503-865-4278

111 SW Columbia St, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97201

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Frequently Asked Questions

For Operators
Transient Lodging Tax Program

FAQs for Portland & Multnomah County occupancy taxes on hotels, vacation rentals & B&B room rentals

Program Contact: Stephen Bouffard
Phone: 503-865-2857 | FAX: 503-823-5189
Mailing Address: City of Portland - TL, PO Box 8791, Portland, OR 97207

Who is required to register and pay the Transient Lodgings tax to the City?

  • Registration requirement: Portland hotel, B&B, and vacation rental operators who provide lodging on a transient (non-permanent) basis for eight days or more days in a calendar year and/or operators who advertise or market space for rent to the general public are required to register with the Transient Lodging Tax Program.
  • Register within 15 days of the start of business

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How do I know if a particular business is paying the Transient Lodgings tax?

Call the Revenue Bureau at 503-865-2857. 

The Revenue Bureau will only confirm that an operator is registered with the city.  By law, no financial information will be provided.

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Are there any exemptions?

Yes. There are five types of allowable exemptions:

  1. Monthly Renter Exemption
    • Taken as a deduction on Line 2 of the tax report
    • Eligible exemptions:
      • Occupants renting space for more than 30 consecutive calendar days. The guest is eligible for a refund or credit for the 1st 30 days if they stay 31 days or longer without a break. Tax should no longer be charged starting day 31
      • People who rent a room on a monthly basis and pay all at once for the entire month (regardless of the number of days in such a month)
  2. Incidental Use Exemption
    • Owners who rent private homes, vacation cabins, or a like facility for 7 days or less within a calendar year and do not advertise space for rent are not required to collect the occupancy tax. Bed and Breakfast Homes and Inns do not qualify under this incidents/use exemption.
  3. Medical and Government Facilities Exemption 
    • Any occupant in a hospital room, medical or mental health facility, convalescent home, home for aged people, or a government-owned and operated public institution
  4. Emergency Shelter/Disaster Relief Exemption
    • Taken as a deduction on Line 5 of the tax report
    • Any person housed through an emergency shelter or disaster program where the rent is paid with government assistance funds.
  5. Federal Government Exemption
    • Taken as a deduction on Line 3 of the tax report
    • Federal Government employees traveling on official government business, who presents an official Government Exemption Certificate or official travel authorization, is exempt from paying the Transient Lodgings tax. Go to qualifying federal employees

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How do I take a deduction/exemption?

Qualifying deductions are claimed on lines 2 – 5 of the tax report.

  • Line 2: Rent by Month: Amount of rents received that are paid on a monthly basis, or those guests who stayed, and paid, for more than 30 consecutive days.  You can only deduct amounts for which you have documentation and have not collected any tax. If you collected and retained the tax, you must remit it to the City. Deductions that cannot be supported with documentation will be disallowed and the operator will owe the tax.
  • Line 3: Government Exemptions: Amount of FEDERAL Government exemptions plus American Red Cross exemptions or Amtrak exemptions.  You must be able to support this amount with copies of official government certificates.  Red Cross and Amtrak exemptions must also be supported with verification. Deductions that cannot be supported with documentation will be disallowed and the operator will owe the tax. Go to qualifying federal employees
  • Line 4: Uncollectible Taxable Rent:  Any rent that became uncollectible (due to NSF check or invalid charge card) may be deducted from Gross Rents only if the amount was originally included in Gross Rents.  You can only deduct amounts for which you have documentation and have not collected any tax.  Only actual bad debts make be taken as a deduction.  No allowances or estimates are acceptable. Deductions that cannot be supported with documentation will be disallowed and the operator will owe the tax.
  • Line 5: Other Deductions:  If you accept emergency housing vouchers, the rent is deducted here. Vouchers must be paid directly with government assistance funds.  In order to support your deduction, you must keep a copy of all vouchers. Deductions that cannot be supported with documentation will be disallowed and the operator will owe the tax.  

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Are 501-c3 organizations (nonprofits) exempt from paying the TL tax? 

No. 

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Who qualifies as a federal government employee for the purposes of the government exemption?

To get this exemption, a guest must be a current employee of a federal agency. The guest must be traveling on official business and their travel expenses, including the lodging bill, must be paid by the federal government, either directly, or by reimbursement.

Federal employees are defined as an employee of a federal governmental department, agency or instrumentality (e.g., IRS, FDA, US Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs). By an act of Congress, additional exemptions are granted for employees of the American Red Cross, Amtrak, and Federal Credit Unions traveling on official business.

Federal employees do not work for the state, county, municipal or tribal government.

There is no exemption for federal contractors, as they are not employees of the federal government.

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What documents must be provided to receive the federal employee tax exemption?

You must provide a copy (or allow a copy to be taken) of one or more of the following:

  • Employment verification (government ID)
  • Travel orders (including statements authorizing travel on agency official letterhead)
  • Government exemption certificate (includes tax exemption card issued by the State Department)

The hotel must keep all government employee documentation to support deduction taken on the tax report.

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What is the difference between a due date and a delinquent date?

The Due Date is the date the tax report is due:

“On or before the 15th day of the month following each quarter of collection, a return for the preceding quarter’s tax collections shall be filed with the Bureau.” PCC 6.04.070 B

Quarterly Tax Report Due Dates:
1st Quarter: April 15
2nd Quarter: July 15
3rd Quarter: October 15
4th Quarter: January 15

The Delinquent Date is the date the report is late and penalty and interest charges are assessed:

“All amounts of such taxes collected by any operator are due and payable to the Tax Administrator on the 15th day of the following month for the preceding 3 months; and are delinquent on the last day of the month in which they are due.  If the last day of the month falls on a holiday or weekend, amounts are delinquent on the first business day that follows.” PCC 6.04.070 A 

Quarterly Tax Report Delinquent Dates

This is the date that reports are considered late and are charged penalties and interest:

1st Quarter: April 30

2nd Quarter: July 31

3rd Quarter: October 31

4th Quarter: January 31

Avoid penalties & interest: Postmark or deliver reports to the Revenue Bureau before the last day of the due date month

Remember: Collected taxes are not available funds for your operations. You are required to segregate these funds to ensure they can be paid when due.

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Are the allowable deductions subject to the Portland Tourism Improvement District (TID) assessment? 

No, like Portland and Multnomah County occupancy taxes, the TID assessment is calculated as gross rents less applicable exemptions, uncollectibles and deductions (Line 7, "Taxable / Assessable Rents" on the Transient Lodging tax report).

Here is an example of how the TID assessment is calculated on the tax report (per PCC 6.05.060):

Description Amount
Line 1: Gross Rents $50,000
Line 2: Minus Monthly Renter Exemption $1,000
Line 3: Minus Federal Employee Exemption $200
Line 4: Minus Uncollectible taxable rents $0
Line 5: Minus Other allowable deductions $2,500
Line 6: Total deductions (sum Lines 2-5) $3,700
Line 7: TID Assessable Rents (Line 1 minus Line 6) $46,300

Line 10: TID Assessment (Line 7 x .02) (In this example: $46,300 x .02)

$926

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What is a credit?

In cases where a tax payment exceeds the amount of tax due, the City will notify the operator in writing that they have a credit. Credits must be claimed on the next tax report.  Unclaimed credits will not be automatically applied.

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How do I claim a credit?

In cases where an operator has been notified by the City that they have a credit, the operator must claim that credit on their next tax report.  Credits are to be claimed on line 15 of the tax report.

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Why can't I get your calculated tax report form to calculate?

  • Make sure you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer: http://www.adobe.com/downloads/
  • Apple (Mac) computers have a default setting that will open PDFs using the program Preview instead of Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Our forms were programmed to use Acrobat Reader -- not Preview -- please open and use the form in Acrobat Reader
  • If you cannot get a Fill & Print PDF form to work (i.e., cannot fill in fields, cannot get the fields to calculate), please click once on the file and then hold down the ctrl key and click again.
  • Select "Open with" (or "Always Open With") and choose Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • This will open the PDF in Reader and you should be able to fill in the fields and the form will calculate.

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