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Business Travelers: Think You're Taxed Out? There's More Coming

Business Travelers: Think You're Taxed Out? There's More Coming

Huge burden in lodging, rental car, meal taxes in 2013 might be followed by higher taxes on air travel in 2014

When you add up general sales taxes and the taxes on travel services (lodging, car rentals, and meals), visitors typically pay a staggering $41 a day in taxes when they stay in Chicago. That's according to the Global Business Travel Association Foundation's annual report on the U.S. cities with the highest travel taxes. Another Midwestern city, Minneapolis, also made the top five this year (Chicago was first), edging out Boston, which dropped down to seventh place. Four Florida cities were among the ten cities with the lowest overall tax burden for travelers.

Things could get even worse for air travelers, with Congress seeking to double the Transportation Security Administration’s passenger security tax as part of a budget deal. Specifically, this means raising the screening fee passengers pay the federal government every time they fly from $2.50 to $5.The proposal has already been given the go-ahead by the Senate.

“Instead of driving TSA efficiencies that curb spending, Congress’ solution is to double the amount travelers pay,” said GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick. “Road warriors strengthen the economy, create jobs, and drive economic security. Yet governments insist on treating travelers like their ATM.”

The TSA argues that the fee has not been increased in over 10 years and only covers about 25 percent of aviation security costs, which have grown to include such expensive developments as high-tech explosive scanners in airports.

GBTA estimates that passengers pay about 20 percent in taxes on an average $300 airfare—a higher burden than for cigarettes and alcohol, according to the nonprofit Consumer Travel Alliance.

For a list of the Top 10 cities with the highest and the lowest total tax burden for travelers, click here.

Highest Total Tax Burden for Travelers in 2013

1) Chicago $41.04

2) New York City $38.65

3) Minneapolis $36.70

4) Kansas City $38.61

5) Indianapolis $36

6) Cleveland $35.41

7) Boston $35.32

8) Seattle $35.11

9) Nashville $34.75

10) Houston $34.16


Lowest Total Tax Burden for Travelers in 2013

1) Fort Lauderdale $22.61

2) Fort Myers $22.61

3) West Palm Beach $22.61

4) Detroit $22.80

5) Portland $22.86

6) Orange County, Calif. $23.61

7) Burbank, Calif. $24.59

8) Honolulu $24.67

9) Ontario, Calif. $24.93

10) Orlando $24.94

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