Online Travel Companies Not Liable for New Mexico Local Occupancy Tax on Mark-Up

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico found that online travel companies were not liable for city-imposed additional New Mexico lodging tax on the difference between the total price of a hotel room collected from customers and the lower discounted room rate that the travel companies negotiated with the hotel operators. Since the travel companies had previously been ruled not to be vendors, and because the relevant city ordinance states that the tax is imposed on gross taxable rent paid to vendors, the city-level tax should only be assessed on the wholesale room rate paid by the travel companies to the hotel operators. Additionally, the city failed to prove that the travel companies were trustees of any unpaid charged taxes, or that they fraudulently concealed information. (City of Gallup, New Mexico v., L.P., United States District Court, District of New Mexico, No. CV 07-644 JC/RLP, March 1, 2010)

Posted on April 1, 2010