Expedia defeats hotel tax claims in Florida
Clients Expedia, Inc.
Jones Day helped secure trial court victories affirmed on appeal for Expedia, Inc. and other online travel companies hauled into court by several Florida counties representing high-volume tourist destinations including Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. The dispute centered on whether online travel websites are covered by local ordinances imposing taxes on hoteliers for renting out hotel rooms. The websites secured summary judgment in three lawsuits with two courts concluding that the tax ordinances do not reach the online travel companies and one court concluding that the tax laws are ambiguous and thus cannot be enforced. Rulings exonerating Expedia from tax liability have been upheld all the way up to the Florida Supreme Court.
Expedia, Inc. v. Broward County, No. 2009-CA-126 (Cir. Ct. Leon County, July 13, 2012) affirmed 135 So 3d 415 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Feb 12, 2014); Leon County v. Expedia, Inc., No. 2009-CA-4319 (Cir. Ct. Leon County, May 8, 2012) affirmed 110 So. 3d 941 (Dist. Ct. App. 2013) affirmed Alachua Cnty v. Expedia, Inc., No. SC13-838, 2015 WL 3618004 (Fla. June 11, 2015); Orange County v. Expedia, Inc., No. 2006-CA-2104 (Cir. Ct. Orange County, June 22, 2012)