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Travel sites appealing Hawaii's $70M fine

By Anita Hofschneider

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:45 p.m. HST, Mar 20, 2013

Popular travel sites are appealing a state court decision to fine them $70 million for unpaid taxes.

A state tax appeal court ruled this week that online travel companies including Orbitz Worldwide Inc., Priceline.com Inc., Sabre Inc.'s Travelocity, and Expedia Inc. have been skirting Hawaii's general excise tax for years.

The state says the companies have been making billions in revenue but owe $158 million in unpaid taxes and interest.

The court slapped the companies with the $70 million fine.

Robin Reck from the Travel Technology Association, which represents the online travel companies, says they are appealing the decision.

She says the court is single-handedly undermining the Hawaii tourism industry by driving up the cost of travel services and telling visitors to go to Mexico or the Caribbean instead.

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Waterman2 wrote:
All the way to the Supreme court of the US. This is a grab and run by Hawaii and should be shot down.......or why have the internet ?
on March 20,2013 | 04:56PM
64hoo wrote:
that 70 million fine could go towards fixing our roads so we don't have to pay a cent for fixing roads.
on March 20,2013 | 05:27PM
localguy wrote:
Yeah but our babooze bureaucrats would just raid the money for their special projects. Just as the raided the vehicle registration/road maintenance fund, the tobacco settlement fund, well, you get the picture. Plus, with our shoddy road repair crews, the work only lasts until the next rain storm so not worth the effort.
on March 20,2013 | 10:10PM
st1d wrote:
predict other on-line companies may join suit as friends of the court or offer monetary support to travel sites if this reaches supreme court as this money grab affects all on-line business conducted in this state.
on March 21,2013 | 04:41AM
Allenk wrote:
If it's been happening for years, why now all of sudden does the state court impose the fine now? Companies like Priceline and Expedia have been around for at least 10 years!
on March 21,2013 | 08:31AM
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