Twp. of Lyndhurst v. Priceline.com Inc., No. 09-2053 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
The Township brought a putative class action on behalf of itself and similarly situated New Jersey municipalities, alleging that defendants, companies who operate hotel booking sites online, owe unpaid hotel occupancy taxes. Defendants calculate the tax owed based on the negotiated rate paid by a defendant (wholesale rate), not the higher rate charged consumers (retail rate). Defendants pay the tax to the hotel, which remits it to the state taxing authority.The district court dismissed on grounds of prudential standing, holding that state officials have the right to enforce the statutory tax scheme. The Third Circuit affirmed. The Township is not the proper plaintiff. Authority to adopt a hotel tax is granted municipalities by N.J. Stat. 40:48F-1, but administration and collection are left to state officials.