U.S. Travel Taxes

Do you know which U.S. cities charge the most and least travel taxes? We do.

As a business traveler, have you ever wondered which cities are charging visitors the most in discriminatory fees levied on top of local sales taxes? While these additional taxes and fees are almost everywhere, it is important to note that they can vary widely from city to city and region to region. In some cases, these fees can increase a visitor’s total tax burden by up to 144 percent.

To help companies wade through and compare these complex and multilayered taxes, Concur has partnered with the NBTA Foundation (the education and research arm of the National Business Travel Association) to release the third annual in-depth study of destination travel taxes. Researching and consolidating various tax rates and fees applied to hotel rooms, rental cars and meals from the top 50 U.S. destinations, this latest report breaks down what travelers are actually paying for similar services when they come to town.

Among the many findings in this year’s report is that discriminatory travel-related fees regularly increase the total tax burden of a visit by more than half. While these fees go towards a variety of funds that cities and counties use to stay afloat (though in many cases, entirely unrelated to tourism), they can also drive business travelers elsewhere.

This year’s report found that the following cities carry the lowest amount of total taxes applied to travelers paying the same initial price for lodging, a rental car and food:

  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Fort Myers, FL
  • Portland, OR
  • Detroit, MI
  • Honolulu, HI

While the highest total amount of taxes came from these cities:

  • Chicago, IL
  • New York, NY
  • Boston, MA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Minneapolis, MN

For single travelers, the difference of taxes paid over the course of one night for the same price of services range from $21.22 on the low end to $38.75 on the high end. For a three day trip, the taxes can range from $52.49 to $101.27—a significant difference, particularly when additional travelers are added if it’s an event or a frequent destination.

The full report on destination travel taxes is available exclusively to Concur clients and NBTA members and offers detailed insight for travel managers interested in understanding the impact that these taxes have on their business travel spend.

Does your organization take tax into consideration when it comes to business travel?

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