A measure to clarify the law to require third-party travel websites to pay all required sales tax cleared the Maryland General Assembly on Wednesday, after supporters said the websites currently are able to avoid paying the full amount.
The House of Delegates voted 84-56 for a Senate bill, sending it to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Supporters say the bill simply closes a loophole by requiring online travel companies to remit the same amount of sales tax collected from customers as Maryland’s hotels do, as they are supposed to do. Now, supporters say, they don’t.
“That’s not fair to Maryland citizens,” Del. Kathleen Dumais, D-Montgomery, said. “If I’m paying 6 percent tax, I want that 6 percent going to the comptroller.”
Steve Shur, president of the Travel Technology Association, said it amounts to a sales tax on services.
“Maryland did it again. They passed a new tax on small businesses,” Shur said, referring to supporters of the bill.
In an interview this week, Hogan said he had not decided whether he would sign the bill, saying there were “good arguments on both sides.”
“It could be construed as a tax increase, so that’s something we’re going to have to take a very hard look at,” Hogan, who campaigned against tax increases, said an interview with The Associated Press on Monday.