Online travel companies fight Portland hotel tax

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Ten online travel companies have gone to court in Portland to fight an effort by local officials to collect millions in hotel tax revenue.

The Oregonian reports (http://bit.ly/xEYQiQ ) the city of Portland hired a law firm in October to collect an estimated $5 million to $8 million in back taxes, as well as up to $1 million a year.

Similar legal battles across the nation have had mixed results.

The companies argue they're not hotel operators, so the city and Multnomah County taxes don't apply to them. And, they say, the transactions and most of the travelers are outside the city and county, so the taxes violate the U.S Constitution's Commerce Clause.

Local officials refused comment on the suit filed Friday.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com