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Eight Alabama cities suing Internet travel firms for not paying enough tax

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Birmingham and eight other Alabama
cities have filed a lawsuit saying Internet travel companies have
underpaid lodging taxes by millions of dollars.

The Jefferson County Circuit Court lawsuit, filed Friday,
alleges that Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity and Priceline have been
paying tax on rooms based on the wholesale rate they pay hotels and should be paying the retail rates they charge customers.

Jim Barger, an attorney hired by the cities to file the suit,
says Birmingham could realize more than $5 million from the
lawsuit.

Suing along with Birmingham are Huntsville, Decatur, Auburn,
Madison, Anniston, Opelika, Fairhope and Gulf Shores.

The Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority is also among those who brought the suit.

Attempts by The Birmingham News to reach officials with the
travel companies were unsuccessful.


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