San Antonio has joined a host of cities that are suing internet travel companies (Hotels.com, Travelweb, and Travelocity) for failure to pay local taxes for hotel room rentals. While I am not a big fan of these taxes, I do not blame the cities for trying to get the back taxes and leveling the playing field.
Spokesmen for Hotels.com, Travelweb and Travelocity were not immediately available for comment.
The suit was filed in federal district court in San Antonio Monday morning, said Steve Wolens, of the Dallas office of Baron & Budd P.C., who is working with the city of San Antonio.
Other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and San Diego, are pursuing similar lawsuits to recover taxes that have been siphoned away from the cities’ important tourism industries, the release said.
Art Sackler, the spokesman for Interactive Travel Service Association, the group that represents online travel sites, said the suit is misdirected.
“The law applies to hotel operators,” Sackler said. “The online travel companies are not hotel operators.”
Many large Texas cities like San Antonio rely on hotel occupancy taxes that come directly from local convention and tourism industries, according to a release from the city of San Antonio. For example, there are more than 33,000 hotel rooms in Dallas that generate millions of dollars in taxes for the city each year. It is estimated that Dallas loses $1 million to $1.6 million every year in unpaid hotel occupancy taxes. via Dallas Business Journal:.