Business group ranks Seattle in Top 10 U.S. cities where travelers incur highest taxes

The Global Business Travel Association announced its annual list of best and worst travel tax cities today, and Seattle came in 8th place on the list of cities with the highest total tax burden in the U.S.

The GBTA study explores how taxes on travel services such as hotel lodging, car rentals and restaurant meal taxes impact the business traveler.

Taxes levied specifically on travel-related services increased the total tax bill for a traveler by 58% in 2013, according to a report by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association. The annual study examines hotel lodging, car rentals and restaurant meal taxes in the top 50 U.S. destination cities

Here are tables showing the 10 U.S. cities where travelers incur the highest and lowest total tax burden in central city locations, factoring in general sales taxes and travel taxes.

  
Rank in
2013
Highest Total Tax Burden
Combined single day travel taxes
Rank in
2012
1
Chicago, IL
$41.04
1
2
New York, NY
$38.65
2
3
Minneapolis, MN
$36.70
6
4
Kansas City, MO
$36.61
4
5
Indianapolis, IN
$36.00
8
6
Cleveland, OH
$35.41
7
7
Boston, MA
$35.32
3
8
Seattle, WA
$35.11
5
9
Nashville, TN
$34.75
9
10
Houston, TX
$34.16
10

The top 10 U.S. cities where travelers incur the lowest total tax burden in central city locations, factoring in general sales taxes and discriminatory travel taxes, are:

Rank in
2013
Lowest Total Tax
Burden
Combined single
day travel taxes
Rank in
2012
1
Fort Lauderdale, FL
$22.61
1
2
Fort Myers, FL
$22.61
2
3
West Palm Beach, FL
$22.61
3
4
Detroit, MI
$22.80
4
5
Portland, OR
$22.86
5
6
Orange County, CA
$23.61
6
7
Burbank, CA
$24.59
7
8
Honolulu, HI
$24.67
9
9
Ontario, CA
$24.93
8
10
Orlando, FL
$24.94
10















Hard to say what impact this has on business travel plans, but the group indicates travel taxes impact decisions on which regions to visit.

“Municipalities are under pressure to raise revenue wherever they can, but imposing too heavy a tax burden on business travel is a shortsighted strategy,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research. “With taxes rising in every area of society, companies and travel managers are taking an increasingly hard look at the price they’re being asked to pay to visit any given city or region.”


Discriminatory Travel Tax Burden

Here's how the cities rank when it comes to what the group calls "discriminatory" travel taxes - imposed specifically on travel services above and beyond general sales taxes. 

The top 10 U.S. cities with the highest travel tax rates in central city locations are:

Rank in 2013
Highest discriminatory travel tax rates
Discriminatory increase over general sales tax
Rank in 2012
1
Portland, OR
$22.86
1
2
Boston, MA
$19.34
2
3
Indianapolis, IN
$18.10
3
4
Minneapolis, MN
$17.46
6
5
Chicago, IL
$17.39
4
6
New York, NY
$15.96
5
7
Washington, DC
$15.61
11
8
Kansas City, MO
$15.26
7
9
Charlotte, NC
$15.16
8
10
Milwaukee, WI
$15.04
10

The top 10 U.S. cities with the lowest travel tax rates in central city locations are:

Rank in 2013
Lowest discriminatory travel tax rates
Discriminatory increase over general sales tax
Rank in 2012
1
Burbank, CA
$1.58
1
2
Orange County, CA
$3.16
2
3
Ontario, CA
$4.48
3
4
San Diego, CA
$5.27
4
5
Oakland, CA
$5.79
6
tie
Tampa, FL
$7.27
7
tie
Fort Lauderdale, FL
$7.27
8
tie
Fort Myers, FL
$7.27
9
tie
West Palm Beach. FL
$7.27
10
10
Los Angeles, CA
$7.37
5


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