An article in today’s USA Today discusses the ongoing litigation between municipalities and the on-line travel companies, such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Hotels.com, relating to the proper remittance of hotel occupancy taxes collected by these companies. The article directly addresses the lawsuits brought by Pope McGlamry on behalf of the cities of Columbus and Atlanta.
The Georgia Supreme Court has affirmed the trial court in two cases involving Columbus, holding that under state and local law occupancy taxes must be remitted on the retail room rate paid by the eventual room occupant. During the litigation, several of the on-line travel companies have retaliated by delisting Columbus completely. The article quotes Trip Tomlinson of PMKMN: “We (could) find Columbus, Miss., and Columbus, Texas,” but not Columbus, Ga., he said of at least one site. “Not only did they de-list all hotels, they’ve written Columbus, Ga., off the map.” The Columbus cases against Expedia and Hotels.com remain before the trial court on the issue of what amount those companies owe Columbus. Not all on-line travel companies have taken such a stubborn approach, as Columbus recently settled their suit against Orbitz.
To read the entire USA today article, click here.