DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (CN) – Florida’s Orange County has the right to sue Orbitz and Expedia for the tax difference between wholesale and retail hotel rates, a Florida appeals court ruled.
Orbitz and Expedia buy hotel rooms at wholesale rates before selling them online at marked-up retail rates. The county argued that the tourist-development tax should be based on the retail rates.
The Internet travel companies countered that the county had other administrative remedies at its disposal. The trial court agreed and dismissed the county’s lawsuit.
Judge Pleus reversed the decision, ruling that the county was not seeking money damages, but merely a declaratory judgment that the companies were liable for the taxes.
For that reason, Pleus ruled that the county did not to exhaust its other administrative remedies.