“Surely this is a scam” I reacted when my friend and an owner of a South Lake Tahoe vacation rental showed me a letter she had just received. This letter, stated that since she has an active TOT (transient Occupancy Tax) license with the City of South Lake Tahoe or El Dorado County (doing the right thing), she was subject to “business property tax assessments on furniture and equipment used in the rental activity.” This letter went on to say that the assessor will “calculate the value to be assessed on the 2014 tax roll.” Keep in mind that they are referring to “furniture, laundry and kitchen appliances, furnishings and any other equipment used int the rental activity.”
Oh, it gets better. Evidently some law states that pro-ration of value between rental and personal use is not allowed. They then provide the property owner with a form to fill out declaring all of the items in the house, their value, on and on. Are you kidding me? Oh – and another thing. These letters were mailed with a date of March 24th and stated that the law says this form needs to be returned by April 1. However, in their kindness they are giving everyone an extension until May 7th without penalties. After May 7th, they will add an additional 10% penalty. 10% of what??? Is there going to now be a police force to see if someone is truthful in regards to their furnishings. Is someone going to admit they purchased a $5,000 pool table or simply state that they purchased it on Craig’s list for $100? What if they don’t know the value? The Assessor gets to make that call? Yet, once again, we find ourselves in an environment where folks will feel the defensive need to lie. Perfect.
I have so many questions. How did this slip through the cracks? Why didn’t anyone know this was coming down the line? I have called numerous sources involved with property management and not a one of them heard about this until their clients, upon receiving their letter, started calling. Another question, what about those that purchased their properties fully furnished/turn-key AND those furnishings were included in the purchase price? Think about it. Their subsequent property taxes were based upon the purchase price therefore these folks are ALREADY paying taxes on the personal property (at least that’s how I see it.) WAit. If someone is operating their vacation rental via VRBO (Vacation Rent by Owner) and using their computer from a remote location, are they going to need to claim the cost of that computer? What if they drive their car to the property to open it up for a client. Do they need to report the car as a business tool and pay additional taxes on that? Remember, the law says no pro-rations. I just don’t see the logic here. What a pitiful approach to scrap together more dollars. Let’s face it. South Lake Tahoe is one small corner of El Dorado County yet we are the ones that will feel the repercussions. Already folks are grumbling about this being yet another way to discourage investing in South Lake Tahoe. Our economy is based on folks coming and staying in Tahoe. While they are here, they spend dollars on lodging/meals/entertainment/clothing/recreation . . . The folks purchasing vacation homes are not getting rich with their rentals. In most cases, they are trying to subsidize the costs for a more long term investment and often plan to use the home in their retirement. They are already paying property taxes/utilities/management fees/TOT taxes/insurance/(I am probably overlooking a dozen others.) Folks owning vacation rentals are one of the main reasons the rest of us are lucky enough to live here.
Perhaps I am missing something. If you can see the logic, please call and explain it to me. I am truly open to hearing another point of view. But if this sounds ludicrous to you as well, I am asking you to make some noise. The letter states that inquiries should be addressed to Lynne Petty (the supervising accountant auditor) at 530.621.5716 OR by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Do it! You should also try calling the main Assessor’s office at 530.642.8148. By the way, I am also in the process of reporting this matter to the California Association of REALTORS® with hopes of getting some strong voices in our corner.
I don’t own a vacation rental and wont be subject to this additional revenue source. Never-the-less, I’m mad as hell.
So, what are some of the highlights on upcoming Tahoe events? Here we go again. Too many fabulous events and not enough days on the calendar. No matter the season, it seems as though something is happening around the South and East shores of Lake Tahoe. Check out the following. You just may want to plan a few trips up the mountain if you are not already here.
March 8: The Mowgli’s: (Harrah’s South Shore Room) The Mowgli’s are an eight piece alternative rock band from southern California, known for their song “San Francisco,” which reached number 11 on Billboard’s alternative chart in 2013.
March 13-15: North Face Park and Pipe: (Heavenly Mountain Resort) The North Face Park and Pipe Open will be coming to Heavenly to pit the top local freestyle skiers against some of the world’s best.
March 15: Welcome Home Bash for 3 Local Olympians A procession will take the Olympians via fire truck from South Tahoe High School, onto Highway 50, past the airport and through the town of Meyers, concluding at Sierra Resort. Community members can line Highway 50 along the route and cheer the Olympian procession as it drives by.
March 15: Pat Traveler’s Band: (Harrah’s South Shore Room)
March 22: Tribute Band, Bruce in the USA: Bruce Springstein tribute band in the (Harrah’s South Shore Room)
March 27: Wild & Scenic Film Festival: Benefit for Sierra Nevada Alliance, (Montbleu Resort) This year’s films combine stellar film making, beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling to inform, inspire and ignite solutions and possibilities to restore the earth and human communities while creating a positive future for the next generation.
March 28: The Straits: (Montbleu Resort) Dire Straits’ legacy is alive and well thanks to the musicians who made history with the band. The Straits features members of the original line-up, performing songs from Dire Strait’s discography. For fans that have missed one of the best-loved groups of the eighties, The Straits offer a fantastic musical experience!
April 3: Yonder Mountain String Band: (Montbleu Resort)
April 12: The Fabulous Thunderbirds: Montbleu Resort, 9:00 pm
April 19: Taj Mahal: Harrah’s South Shore room, 7:30 pm. With his storytelling wit and wisdom, coupled with a mastery of an array of stringed instruments, Taj will present a rare solo acoustic performance.
And planning ahead – June 24 Sarah McLachlan: Concert Series at Harvey’s Outdoor Arena, 8:00 pm.
“… As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.” This quote by Mark Twain pretty much says it all. Lake Tahoe photographs combined with “the fairest picture” – it’s a win/win scenario. No wonder cameras, ranging from iphones to SLR’s with lenses longer than my legs (which isn’t saying a whole lot) are visibly attached to nearly every visitor touring the lake. We live here and yet our cameras are in action every chance we get. Let’s face it. It’s hard to miss when tying to capture a beautiful image.
Every Tuesday for the past year, we have emailed an image taken around Lake Tahoe with the hope of offering a sample of what it is like to live here. These images are selected for their highlighting nature’s beauty, lifestyles and moments we simply want to share with you. Along with each image we will share a small story and perhaps a thought to ponder. We chose Tuesdays with hopes of offering a bit of mid-week “eye candy.”
Starting next week, we will post these images on our website as well. However, we have decided to expand our efforts to showcase Lake Tahoe’s beauty. How, you ask? You were asking, right? If you have an image that you feel exemplifies why we all fell in love with Lake Tahoe, by all means, please send our way. We will showcase your art via our website, blogs or possibly even as one of the Tuesday picks. And of course, we will be delighted to give you your well-deserved photo credit. Pass the word to your photo-buff friends as well.
In the meantime, “film” is cheap these days. Get out the cameras and start having fun with Lake Tahoe photographs. Which camera? Does it really matter?
The South Lake Tahoe upcoming music events bring a handful of concert headliners to South Lake Tahoe this winter season. This weekend starts off featuring The Devil Makes Three with special guest The Brothers Comatose at the MontBleu Resort and Casino on February 8th. The doors open at 8:00 pm and the show starts at 9:00 pm. Also on February 8th in the South Shore room at Harrah’s comes the legendary rock/latin/funk/fusion band WAR. This show starts at 7:30 pm. Country star Kellie Pickler will also be at the Harrah’s South Shore Room on February 15th, this show starts at 7:30. The Wailers will be appearing on February 22 at Harrah’s. They will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Legend LP, which was cited by Rolling Stone as #46 on the magazine’s list of top 500 albums of all time. On March 1st Canadian rockers and YouTube sensation Walk Off the Earth will be playing at Harrah’s, the show starts at 7:30 pm. The Pat Travelers Band is appearing at the South Shore room in Harrah’s on March 15th at 7:30. The Young Dubliners will be celebrating the St. Patrick’s Day holiday on March 17th at the MontBleu Resort and casino, doors open at 8:00 pm.
Another great winter music event is the Pints and Paddles concert on the M.S. Dixie II featuring Ike and Martin. This show runs every Wednesday evening from 5:30- 7:00 through March 19th. Get there early because this show tends to sell out! Also there will be a FREE Live Blues Show at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe every Tuesday through March 25th starting at 8:30 pm. Along with all of the music events listed above there are regularly scheduled live music shows all over South Lake Tahoe in locations including Cabo Wabo, Mc P’s, Steamers Bar and Grill, Whisky Dicks, The Beacon Bar and Grill and many other venues and restaurants throughout town.
Prologue: There are times in life, especially in a Lake Tahoe life, whereby a hike is not just a hike. In fact, it may not be a hike at all. It just might be an outing in a canoe. A gorgeous red canoe in fact. Such was the case (or at least the excuse used) for my vowed hike this past week.
The Hike (sans walking): It had been an unusually busy week within the real estate community and not an hour of free time had come my way. Not one. As I hosted my open house this past Saturday, group after group stopping by made joyful comments regarding the beauty of the day, or how they had just come back from a swim in the lake or how sweaty they were following a bike ride in the woods or how cool the display was at the Wooden Boat Show. You got the picture, right? Outdoor envy got the better of me so I picked up the phone. “Don, let’s take the canoe out this evening and have a picnic.” No argument on his behalf. I wrapped up the Open House, headed home to change clothes, pack the goodies and off we went.
We decided on our usual launch pad, Baldwin Beach and within minutes of arriving, we were in the water. Following a short bit of discussion as to which direction to head, we decided to paddle somewhat southeast toward Kiva Beach with a plan to head back toward the entrance (if there was going to be one) where Taylor Creek flows into Lake Tahoe. Taylor Creek is the only outlet for Fallen Leaf Lake and begins at the Fallen Leaf Lake dam on the north side of the lake. From there it winds its way northward entering the wetland of Taylor Creek & Tallac prior to entering Lake Tahoe. We were experiencing a tolerable level of swells and chop from the combination of the afternoon breeze and multiple recreation boats/jet skis playing in the afternoon sun. No problem and in fact, rather fun. As we passed the spit of land separating Taylor Creek from Lake Tahoe, our guess that the creek level was too low to paddle directly from the lake to the creek appeared (yes, I said “appeared”) to be correct. After passing the Kiva Beach area, we decided it was time to turn back and see if we couldn’t paddle even a small way up the creek.
When we reached the spit of land separating the two bodies of water, we beached our canoe, donned our sandals and began our portage. Reaching the creek, we were surprised to see that the waterway was actually wider and deeper than anticipated. Plop. The canoe was once again back in the water and paddling underway. Allow me a small clarification – Don was paddling. I had a camera hanging from my neck and by golly, there was “work” to be done. Don assured me that he could handle the paddling on his own and who was I to argue with Jeremiah Johnson. Folks, let me tell you. This little trip up Taylor Creek through the wetlands is a world in and of itself. Quiet. Tinkling water. Darting Damsel Flies. Sleepy geese. Frogs. Herons. Beaver dams. Fishing Osprey. Blissfully quiet. All the sounds from the lake’s bustling activity was gone. It was so tranquil we found ourselves no longer casually chatting amongst ourselves. Just listening. Quiet.
At one point a Blue Heron who had been hanging out with the geese, chose to lift off and casually fly away directly in front of us. An osprey dramatically plunged into the waters and was rewarded with the catch of a trout that turned Don’s eyes green. A few remaining wildflowers lined the banks of the creek adding to the environment’s overall color palatte. All too soon, we arrived at a point where we had to turn around. Don hopped out of the canoe to wade a bit further up the creek in search of whatever. I stayed in the canoe and continued to listen. I hadn’t used my legs yet on this “hike/outing.” Why start now?
Upon Don’s return, we slowly paddled down creek toward the lake. At one point I thought I saw a kayak enter the creek directly from the lake. I mentioned my observation to Don yet from his point of view, they too had portaged. Realizing they may have entered just a bit further down where there was a significant bend in the creek bank, Don followed with, “On the other hand, let’s check it out.” Sure enough the creek actually did make it all the way to the lake with enough depth to paddle through. Hurray! Not so much because it saved us from having to lug the canoe across the beach but rather because we were delighted to see that there was apparently more water in Taylor Creek than we had thought possible following the past winter’s minimal snowfall. For some reason, this gave us an elated sense of hope. You know the feeling. All is well with the world. Okay, maybe not the world, but it certainly in Lake Tahoe this past Saturday.