Orange County fights for hotel taxes tangled in Web
Orange County leaders Friday stepped up the fight to make online hotel-booking companies pay the full tourist-tax bill on rooms they sell and asked lawmakers to block any attempts to shield the Internet outfits from lawsuits to recoup unpaid taxes. Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty and Comptroller Martha Haynie say companies such as Hotels.com, Expedia and Orbitz buy blocks of rooms in bulk from hoteliers and pay the 6 percent hotel tax on that reduced rate. The companies then sell the same rooms to online customers at a higher price -- but usually don't collect tax on the final price. Crotty said that's wrong. "It's important that all pay their fair share," Crotty said, calling his effort to collect the taxes "loophole reform."