Online Travel Booking Companies Must Collect Wyoming Sales Tax

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013


The Wyoming Board of Equalization recently ruled that online travel booking companies must collect and remit sales tax on the entire amount charged for hotel room rentals in Wyoming. At the core of the dispute was the online booking companies' ("Companies") claim that they sell nothing more than non-taxable booking services. The Companies claimed that they were not actually selling hotel room rentals because they did not own the hotel rooms. Instead, they argued, they were selling non-taxable booking services, and, because they were not "vendors" of hotel room rentals, they had no obligation to collect and remit sales tax.

The Board of Equalization disagreed, finding that the Companies are vendors of hotel room rentals and are required to collect and remit sales tax. The Companies are selling a taxable service, a lodging service. The definition of "sale" is focused on the transaction; the tax is imposed on any transfer of possession for consideration. There is no requirement that the seller own the property or service being sold. The Board also focused on the business model the Companies use:the hotel owner does not know how much the customer paid, nor does the customer know how much the hotel received. Therefore, the Companies are the only party in the transaction that know how much tax should be paid.

The Board found that the Companies must collect tax on the entire amount charged, including the price for the room and their transaction fee. The definition of "sales price" includes all fees necessary to complete the sale. Since consumers cannot use the Companies service without paying their fees, the entire charge is taxable.

In re LP, Nos. 2010-112, 2010-113, 2010-114, 2010-115, 2010-117, 2010-127, and 2010-146 (Wyo. Bd. Of Equalization, Feb. 28, 2013).

About TTR

Transaction (buying or selling things), Tax (the tax on this activity), Resources (our people, our website, our support services) - TTR, Inc.

TTR has a website that companies subscribe to and use daily. This website provides a list of everything that can be bought or sold in the U.S. It provides simple answers to whether buying or selling these items is taxable (subject to a sales tax or other tax), and it provides all the legal authority to support these tax answers.

TTR likes to keep things simple and fun, which is why it has great people who provide help to clients on any support questions they have about transaction tax issues.

Please visit TTR on the web at or call 866.578.8193.

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