Hawaii Wins $246 Million from Hotel Booking Sites and Is Only Getting Started
The State of Hawaii is going after online travel agencies when they sell hotel rooms from chains and smaller properties. Pictured is Hotel Lanai in Lanai City, Hawaii, in December 2012. Michael Goulding / Orange County Register/MCT
The first part of this case is different from most against the big online travel agencies. This one involves Hawaii’s state excise tax. Like a lot of other jurisdictions, though, Hawaii is also trying to go after the OTAs on occupancy taxes — for close to an additional $500 million.
Excerpt from MauiNow.com
A final judgement in the amount of $246 million was entered in tax appeal court against nine Online Travel Companies selling Hawaiʻi hotel rooms, according to information released by the state Attorney General’s Office [pdf below]. The judgement reportedly includes taxes, penalties and interest for the period between 2000 and 2011.
The State intends to file another appeal in which it maintains that the “OTCs furnish transient accommodations,” and that under the State’s Transient Accommodations Tax law, such individuals must pay TAT on their gross rentals. Should the State prevail on the appeal, it is estimated that it would result in additional future annual TAT collections of approximately $60 million, officials with the state Attorney General’s office said.