Columbus Wins Case Against Hotels.com - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus Wins Case Against Hotels.com

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) -   For the second time, the Supreme Court of Georgia has ruled in favor of the city of Columbus in a lawsuit against an on-line travel agency.

The court upheld a Muscogee County court ruling that the local government has the right to impose taxes on the total amount Hotels.com charges customers to book hotel rooms in Columbus.

In a similar case in June, the high court ruled that Expedia, another on-line travel company, would have to pay the city taxes based on the mark up room rate it charges customers, rather than the lower wholesale rate it pays to hotels.

Like Expedia and other on-line travel companies, Hotels.com negotiates with hotels to obtain rooms at a wholesale rate. It then offers the rooms on its website at a marked-up "room rate," which also includes an amount for hotel fees and taxes.

The on-line company collects the taxes from its customers based on the higher room rate. But after the customer's stay, it remits to the hotel payment that covers the wholesale rate of the room plus an amount for taxes based on the wholesale rate rather than the room rate.

The hotel then pays the taxes to the municipal tax authority.

In 2006, Columbus sued Hotels.com, claiming that under a local ordinance, Hotels.com owed the city 7% in occupancy taxes based on the room rate, which is the "charge to the public," rather than the negotiated wholesale rate.

In a ruling siding with the city, the trial court issued a permanent injunction against Hotels.com and ordered it to collect and remit taxes based on the room rate.

Meanwhile, both Hotels.com and Expedia have not listed any of Columbus' hotels on their website. 

The case will return to Muscogee County in order for the trial courts to handle the alleged loss of tax revenue.

  • LocalMore>>

  • 2017 Benning Multi-Gun Challenge wraps up

    2017 Benning Multi-Gun Challenge wraps up

    Sunday, November 19 2017 1:25 PM EST2017-11-19 18:25:48 GMT
    (Source: Marla Spence/WTVM)(Source: Marla Spence/WTVM)

    Sunday was the final day for the Fort Benning Multi-Gun Challenge, hosted by the Fort Benning Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) and facilitated by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU).

    More >>

    Sunday was the final day for the Fort Benning Multi-Gun Challenge, hosted by the Fort Benning Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) and facilitated by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU).

    More >>
  • Man shot early Sunday morning on Brown Avenue

    Man shot early Sunday morning on Brown Avenue

    Sunday, November 19 2017 3:14 PM EST2017-11-19 20:14:38 GMT
    (Source: WALB)(Source: WALB)

    According to a police report, police were dispatched to Columbus Fire and EMS Station 6 at 1126 Brown Avenue just after midnight Sunday in reference to someone suffering from a gunshot wound.

    More >>

    According to a police report, police were dispatched to Columbus Fire and EMS Station 6 at 1126 Brown Avenue just after midnight Sunday in reference to someone suffering from a gunshot wound.

    More >>
  • 1 injured in Saturday shooting at Ballard Way Apartments

    1 injured in Saturday shooting at Ballard Way Apartments

    Sunday, November 19 2017 5:27 PM EST2017-11-19 22:27:16 GMT
    (Source: Mya Johnson/WTVM)(Source: Mya Johnson/WTVM)

    Police are investigating a shooting Saturday night at a Columbus apartment complex. According to police reports, the shooting happened Saturday night around 7 at the Ballard Way Apartment at 5600 Hunter Road.

    More >>

    Police are investigating a shooting Saturday night at a Columbus apartment complex. According to police reports, the shooting happened Saturday night around 7 at the Ballard Way Apartment at 5600 Hunter Road.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly