To tax or not to tax Expedia - and other widely used Internet travel services. That is the question Georgia lawmakers faced in a recent House study committee on hotel sales taxes.

The issue they must tackle is whether to tax Internet travel services like Expedia,, Orbitz and for hotel stays in Georgia.

Although the nuances of the debate can be confusing, by the end of the Nov. 28 Capitol meeting it was clear that the popularity of booking travel online is short- changing state coffers, even while hotel occupancy rates are soaring in Georgia.

That's because state law hasn't kept pace with emerging technologies, and the profit margin made by online travel services on hotel room sales has fallen into a tax loophole, allowing online sellers to escape paying state sales taxes and local option hotel-motel taxes that off-line sellers must pay.

It's an issue that has been cropping up nationwide, and Georgia lawmakers will have to decide whether they want to tax Internet hotel room sales in the same way that they tax sales made by brick-and-mortar hotels.

Get the full story at the Atlanta Business Chronicle