Missouri governor Jay Nixon signed HB 4211 into law on July 8, adding another point in the travel agent column in the contest with hoteliers, cities, counties and states over hotel/motel occupancy tax issues. The Missouri law codifies the current practice of all municipalities that assess occupancy taxes, namely, the hotels pay tax on the income they receive for their rooms and the travel agents (primarily on-line travel agents or OTAs) pay nothing. No occupancy tax, that is. Normal corporate income tax applies.
This is the latest in a series of disputes at all levels of play on occupancy taxes, including municipal lawsuits against large OTAs for back taxes owed as a result of the wholesale or “merchant” model used by those OTAs, to federal legislation proposed by the Interactive Travel Services Association and opposed by the AH&LA (but supported by, for example, the California Lodging Industry Association), to these types of state efforts to unify the taxation practices of their municipalities.
Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.