State wants online travel giants to pay more sales tax

Sep 15, 2013 McClatchy Newspapers

The Wyoming Attorney General's office is asking the Wyoming Supreme Court to uphold a ruling that would force online travel companies to pay more in taxes.

Lawyers for the state filed documents saying the companies should collect and remit taxes on the full amount of lodging sales.

A group of online booking services, including Travelocity and Expedia, say they shouldn't have to pay the full taxes because they do not have physical presences in the state and they do not provide actual lodging services.

The companies' model is to buy a group of rooms from a hotel at a discounted rate and sell them directly to online customers at marked-up prices. The companies want to continue the practice of collecting and remitting taxes to the state based on the price of the lower rate that they negotiate with the hotels instead of the higher price offered to consumers.

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