ASTA Volunteers Are Needed to Combat Massachusetts State Tax

In an urgent advisory to members, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is asking all travel agents in Massachusetts to combat a double state tax on their income stream. The Society urges agents to visit their elected senator and representative in the State House in Boston on June 5, 2008, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Local Boston agency owners should consider rotating staff to allow the to visit as well.

The mission, ASTA says, is to oppose a provision in S. 2685 that taxes travel agents' service fees when booking a hotel room in the Commonwealth. Personal visits by ASTA members can seal the deal in killing this language before it advances out of conference committee, ASTA says. Without these visits, it is possible that travel agents will be faced with double state taxation on their income stream.

Proposed state bills H.4672/S.2685 are currently in a House/Senate Conference Committee on Corporate Taxes. S. 2685 contains the travel agent tax language while H. 4672 does not. This measure harms tourism in the Commonwealth and would make Massachusetts the only state in the nation to impose this duplicate tax. More importantly, it is double taxation at the state level on travel agents' income stream.

A designated State House room (soon to be announced) is where agents will receive an issue briefing, a packet with talking points and a leave behind sheet for the legislator's office. This on-going process will be in effect from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to accommodate agents as they arrive at the State House.

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