Township of Lyndhurst v. Priceline.com Inc., No. 09-2053 (3d Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendants, online booking companies, acquire inventories of hotel rooms at negotiated rates (wholesale rate) and rent the rooms to consumers at higher retail rates; they charge consumers a separate amount for hotel taxes. Defendants pay the taxes to the hotels, which in turn remit it to the state taxing authority. Plaintiff brought a claim on behalf of a putative class of New Jersey municipalities, alleging that basing the tax on the wholesale rate, rather than the retail rate, is a form of tax evasion. The district court granted defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on grounds of prudential standing ground, reasoning that the municipality was attempting to assert a legal right that was reserved to the Director of the Division of Taxation (aided by the Attorney General) to enforce municipal hotel occupancy taxes by determining the amount of tax due and then collecting the related revenue. The Third Circuit affirmed, reasoning that municipalities have authority to impose a local hotel tax under N.J. Stat. 40:48F, but enforcement is reserved to state officials.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on August 2, 2011.