AG says online travel sites shirk taxes owed to NH
The suit, filed in Merrimack County Superior Court earlier this month, contends Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity and other online travel companies failed to pay the full amount of rooms and meals tax revenues due the state for hotel and car rentals.
New Hampshire and a number of other states claim the companies pay rooms and meals taxes based on the lower wholesales rates they pay hotels and car rental companies, but charge consumers “taxes and fees” based on the higher retail rates their customers pay for the rooms and vehicles.
Given the growing number of hotel rooms and rental cars that consumers rent from online travel companies, the state is losing an increasing amount of revenue, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Assistant Attorney General Philip Bradley said dozens of others lawsuit have been filed by other states, counties and local governments, most of which are still in litigation.
He noted Hawaii was awarded $250 million by a court, but that state has a great deal more tourism than New Hampshire.
In its suit, the state also claims the online travel companies’ practice is unfair and misleading for consumers who are charged “taxes and fees” without a breakdown in the charges. The state also claims the practice cheats local businesses renting rooms and cars that have to pay the state the 9 percent tax on the full retail rate.
The online travel companies have 30 days to file a response after they have been served with the complaint.
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