Hotel Tax Returns Confidential in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014


A Pennsylvania court recently denied a newspaper's request for hotels' tax returns, holding that the returns were confidential proprietary information.

Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law allows access to public records. Records in the possession of local agencies, such as county governments, are presumed to be public records. There is an exception for records that contain confidential proprietary information. "Confidential proprietary information" is commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential, the disclosure of which would cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the person who submitted the information.

A newspaper sought information about hotels' county tax returns under the state Right-to-Know Law. Specifically, the newspaper sought tax records for all hotels in the county that paid the hotel tax between 2007 and 2011. The newspaper wanted yearly totals of the hotel tax remitted and occupancy data for each hotel. The tax returns showed the total number of occupied room nights, the hotel's gross receipts, and the amount of tax paid. The hotels argued that this information was confidential proprietary information.

The court ruled agreed with the hotels. The hotels kept the information confidential. Disclosing the information could cause substantial harm to a hotel's competitive position. Bulk buyers of hotel rooms could use the information to depress room rates. Other hotels could use the information to lower rates and take business away from the hotel that provided the information. The court therefore denied the newspaper's request for tax return information.

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.

Washington Penalty Reduction Program

Monday, May 21st, 2018 -Businesses that apply to register with Washington's Marketplace Fairness Penalty Reduction Program by June 30,...

Fuel Used to Heat Detached Garages Taxable in Maine

Monday, May 21st, 2018 -Maine Revenue Services recently released a publication explaining that sales tax applies to fuel that is used ...

Cloud Software No Longer Taxable in Indiana

Thursday, May 17th, 2018 -Effective July 1, 2018, cloud software will no longer be taxable in Indiana. Indiana taxes the sale, lease,...

Sales Tax Increase in the Historic Triangle Region of...

Monday, May 14th, 2018 -Effective July 1, 2018, there will be an additional one percent (1%) regional sales and use tax imposed in the...

Sales by Charitable Organizations Generally Exempt in...

Friday, May 11th, 2018 -The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration recently addressed the taxability of sales made by a non...

Credit Card Convenience Fees Taxable in New York

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018 -The New York Department of Taxation and Finance recently ruled that convenience fees for credit card purchases...