San Antonio has become the first Texas city to take on several large, popular online hotel booking agencies in a federal lawsuit alleging that they have not fully paid hotel occupancy taxes, City Attorney Michael Bernard said Monday.

The lawsuit claims that 16 online agencies — including,, and Orbitz — paid taxes on wholesale room rates, not the higher retail rates charged to consumers.

The practice has shorted the city about $10 million in hotel occupancy tax revenues since 1999, Bernard said.

"If we're losing millions and millions of dollars, that means the online companies are simply lining their pockets with tax dollars that have been paid by the consumer, that are due to the city of San Antonio but are not being remitted," Bernard said at a news conference.

The 16.75 percent tax imposed on each hotel and motel room is a combination of a 6 percent state tax, 1.75 percent county tax and 9 percent local tax.

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