Florida Supreme Court Won't Rehear Counties' Case Against Online-Travel Companies

Sep 23, 2015

Credit Phillip Pessar via Flickr

Nassau, St. Johns and 15 other Florida counties will not be able to squeeze more tax money from online-travel companies. The state Supreme Court has declined to reconsider their ruling siding with the companies.

In a years-long dispute, the 17 Florida Counties argued companies like Expedia and Travelocity should have to pay more in tourism taxes.

But the companies mounted a successful defense: Part of the amount they charge customers isn’t actually for booking a hotel room, but rather it’s a service charge and therefore not subject to tax.

As the Florida News Service reports, in June, the Supreme Court agreed in a 5-to-2 ruling the companies don’t need to pay tax on the full amount charged to travelers.

The case hinged on a state law that predates online travel sites. Counties across the U.S. have had similar difficulty collecting additional “bed taxes” from them.

Photo: "Loews Hotel South Beach" by Phillip Pessar used under Creative Commons license.