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Collecting What NH Is Owed

April 17, 2013 Common Cents

On Friday, the Legislature’s Fiscal Committee will hear a request from Attorney General Michael Delaney to allow his office to pursue litigation against online travel companies for meals and rooms taxes they may owe.  Not only should the Committee approve the request, but the Legislature as a whole should consider ways to strengthen the collection of the meals and rooms tax.

As this study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) explains, New Hampshire is among a number of states with loopholes in their laws related to the taxation of hotel room rentals.  Online travel companies, such as Travelocity and Expedia, have been able to exploit those loopholes, asserting that they owe room rental taxes solely on the wholesale price that they pay hotels for the rooms, rather than on the retail price that they charge their customers.  CBPP estimates that the loss from these practices could cost New Hampshire on the order of $1 million per year.

In response, numerous lawsuits have been brought by states and municipalities against online travel companies to try to recover the funds that are properly due.  As the Union Leader’s Gary Rayno points out in a recent column, many of those suits have either been decided in favor of state or local governments or have produced negotiated settlements.  The request from the Attorney General would, if approved, permit him to hire the National Online Travel Litigation Group, which has developed expertise in this area, to recover any unpaid meals and rooms taxes.

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Elections Highlight Continuing Questions About Keno Revenue

8 Nov 2017

tree with coins

While results are still preliminary, Keno gaming appears to have been legalized in seven cities around New Hampshire as a result of Tuesday’s votes. The margin of victory in Rochester for Keno legalization was reportedly only one vote and may still be subject to change or recount, but voters appear to have legalized Keno gaming in Berlin, Claremont, Laconia, Manchester, Nashua, Rochester, and Somersworth. Voters in Concord, Dover, and Keene voted against Keno gaming legalization. Franklin had legalized Keno gaming previously, and the Portsmouth City Council decided to not put Keno on the ballot. Other municipalities, including the City of Lebanon, may make decisions regarding Keno legalization next year. These results have implications for State policy and finances.