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Posted: Monday, January 14th, 2013 5:38 AM HST

Judge rules against online sites in tax fight

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) A judge has ordered some online travel sites to pay the state roughly $150 million for a decade's worth of back taxes and interest.

The state attorney general's office says the judge on Friday ruled that Hawaii's general excise tax applies to the sale of hotel rooms by online travel companies. A press release says the ruling could bring further tax collections of $20 million a year.

The release says the sites, which include Expedia, Hotels.com and Travelocity, have made sales of more than $2.7 billion in Hawaii hotel rooms since 2000.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie called it a "significant ruling" for Hawaii.

Expedia spokeswoman Mallory Seubert said by email Saturday that the company "strongly" disagrees with the decision and is considering all of its options.



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