Monday, June 15, 2009

City of Atlanta Statement in Regard to the Georgia Supreme Court’s Decision in Columbus vs. Expedia, Inc.

The City of Atlanta believes today’s Supreme Court decision in Columbus vs. Expedia, Inc. is a very positive development. In that decision upholding a permanent injunction against Expedia, Inc, the majority recognized that Expedia Inc. in fact collects taxes from its customers. The Court also recognized that, under both state and local law, occupancy taxes are to be collected on the amount the customer pays for the room. Finally, the Court held that, so long as Expedia collects taxes from customers, it must collect taxes on the amount its customers pay as a room rate and remit those taxes to the appropriate municipality. The City of Atlanta believes that this decision validates the positions that the City has taken in its lawsuit, currently pending in Fulton County Superior Court.

Atlanta brought its suit to collect recovery of occupancy taxes as collected by the online travel companies. Even though those companies would charge the same retail room rate as would a local hotel, Atlanta would receive less money in those transactions where the online travel companies rather than the hotel collected the taxes. Again, Atlanta is pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision and looks forward to recovering past due occupancy taxes in its pending case, as well as securing compliance with state and local tax laws going forward.
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