added municipal tax after checkout...!!

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Sep 11, 2019
My wife and I stayed at an expensive hotel in Provincetown, MA this past early August. When we checked out, we paid our bill in full.

Yesterday we received an email asking us to pay for a municipal tax that the hotel says it did not charge by mistake, as they had "a problem with their reservation system". It's a 2.75% tax, so it's not a huge amount of dough (about $40), but we're wondering if we're obligated to pay it.

This is the line given to us by the hotel: "This occurred because our reservation system malfunctioned. We are required to collect this additional tax and pay it to the Town of Provincetown for a new Water Protection Fund. "

Thanks in advance for your responses!
Sep 19, 2015
I would say that ethically one has to pay it. If you later found out that you were overcharged would you feel the same way if the hotel said no you paid in full too late?

Legally depends on the contract with the hotel but often there are provisions that the hotel may come back to the guest for missed charges.

I am sort of struggling to understand how if the tax was owed and a mistake was made how that would negate the fact that you owe the tax. I have yet to find perfection in myself and therefore do not expect the same for others. But then I am the person that will return a dollar if I get too much change or pay up if a legitimate miscalculation.


Jan 6, 2015
the United States
In case you were wondering:

In that article I see two significant things:
  • "the Cape Cod and Islands Water Protection Fund won’t be levied until summer"
  • "The fund is financed by a 2.75 percent tax, established as part of state’s new short-term rental tax, which will be collected in Cape towns to help offset the multibillion dollar costs of the region’s wastewater cleanup efforts."
So the tax and tax amount are correct. And it appears they just levied it recently, which might explain the "computer issues".


Mar 23, 2015
This isn't really a matter of consumer advocacy so much as a matter of your own personal ethics. What will you be able to live with, look in the mirror, sleep at night with? ME? I'd feel like a cheat if I didn't pay the full bill. Some people would laugh and feel gleeful at "getting over" on someone. It's all in what YOU can live with and remain comfortable in your own skin with. IMHO, of course.
Sep 20, 2015
And the merchant still has to pay the tax regardless of whether they collect it from you or not, since it's based on their receipts. I wouldn't want a small merchant paying for something like that. It's not their fault the city/county levied the tax.


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
I doubt you would have questioned it if the hotel had just told the truth. They hadn't programmed the tax into their system yet. I'd pay it, it's a simple mistake.
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