Ocoee Outfitters Win Suit Invalidating Tax on Raft Trips
The Tennessee Court of Appeals issued a ruling this week overturning a judgment in Chancery Court that threatened to bankrupt many Ocoee River outfitters. Originally, the Chancery Court decided in favor of the outfitters based on the provisions in the Sec. 445 of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA), but later reversed itself when the County claimed outfitters did not have standing because the customer paid the tax. The County then pursued seizure notices against the outfitters' property in an effort to recover $1.9 million in back taxes. The case eventually landed in the Tennessee Court of Appeals. A hearing was held this past summer and the ruling was issued this week. The Appeals court decided in favor of the outfitters stating the tax was illegal based on the MTSA and the Chancery Court’s ruling that the outfitters did not have standing was reversed. The Appeals Court required Polk County to establish a fund to return the tax to customers of outfitters and gave customers one year to recover those taxes.
Legislation currently in Congress in Section 302 of the House version of H.R. 2830, The Coast Guard Authorization bill, would re-establish taxing authority on federally navigable waterways. The Senate version of the bill does not include the language and America Outdoors is making every effort to ensure that the provision does not pass if Congress convenes for a lame duck session.
Important Update on Hotel Reservations for AO's Marketing and Management Conference
The Holiday Inn Select still has limited rooms available for the AO conference The cutoff date for the Holiday Inn Select is November 14th. After that time you will need to call the local number between 8:00 and 4:30 EST at 865-522-2800. Be sure you talk to someone at the hotel since Holiday Inn’s Central Reservations will show the room block as being sold out. There are no rooms available at the Hilton. If you have trouble booking rooms, call the AO office at 865-558-3595.
Featured AO Conference Seminar: Increase Sales with Telephone Reservations Sales Training
“We had a great year. Sending our reservations staff to the telephone reservations training was a big part of that success,” said one reservations manager whose staff attended a Signature telephone training session sponsored by America Outdoors. The customer service experience begins with the phone call to your business! This useful, hands-on program provides you and your staff with the tools to help you build sales and great customer service to go with it.
In a fun and highly interactive format you and your team will learn how to convert that phone call to a reservation and get your guests excited about their upcoming adventure. At last year’s meeting these seminars received overwhelmingly positive evaluations with over 95% of participants giving the program the highest marks for value. Even today, months after the training the participants believe the program made a positive difference in their performance. This is a six hour workshop with extensive preparation and mystery shopping required, so you must register as soon as possible!
The class is limited to the first 18 to register and an additional charge applies. The fee is $150 for registered attendees. Others may attend this event as a standalone for $295. Currently, one class is scheduled for December 5, so register early. If it sells out, as it did last year, and there is additional demand, another session maybe added.
Presenter: Karla Flores Gomez, Signature Worldwide