Online Hotel Booking Bill Passes In Florida House

TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – A bill that would exempt online hotel booking companies from having to pay state taxes on price mark ups which they term service fees has easily passed in the Florida House.

The bill, which is supported by online companies such as Expedia, Travelocity and Priceline, faces an uncertain future in the Senate, however, where it is stalled in committee.

Those who support the measure argue that most services already are exempt from taxation in Florida.

Opponents, however, say if it passes it would be nothing more than legalized tax cheating.

Hotels in the state have opposed the measure. The say in addition to being ineligible for a tax break if they book online, they also have to pay state and local taxes. The larger hotels and local tourist development agencies say they are losing millions.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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