TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida House has passed a bill to exempt online hotel booking companies from taxes on their price mark-ups that they consider to be service fees.
The bill (HB 493) passed 77-38 on Monday. It now goes to the Senate where a similar bill (SB 376) is stalled in committee.
The bill is supported by online companies such as Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, and BookIt.com
It's opposed by larger hotels that don't get the tax break because they do their own online bookings as well as counties and local tourist development agencies that say they are losing millions.
Several lawsuits have been filed over the issue in Florida and other states.
The bill's advocates argued that most services already are exempt from taxation in Florida.
Opponents said it would legalize tax cheating.