Not so much a question as a recurring theme - why do so many hotels struggle with the tax exempt traveler? I travel for business (tax exempt) as well as pleasure and have been very pleased with Marriott properties except when it comes to getting a correct (tax-adjusted) statement. The drill is I book the stays on the Marriott website and pay with a government-issued credit card. At check-in, I always have my tax exempt certificate, ID, and government credit card with my name and the government entity ready. Invariably there is a form that is required to be filled out stating the purpose and eligible category of tax exempt status. And invariably, when I wake up on the date of check-out I find a statement including the posted taxes!
I've stayed in two different Marriott properties (Park Meadows Marriott - Lonetree, Colorado and the Westminster Marriott, also in the greater Denver area) this month and gone through the drill at both places only to get the pleasure of going to the front desk at checkout to ask for a corrected statement.
The most recent visit, I was told that the accountant is the only one who can take the taxes off and he/she wasn't working this weekend. Since I had checked in on a Thursday and done all the paperwork then, I wondered what the hangup was? Evidently, as I was told, the taxes have to be posted on the date of checkout before they can be removed! With this explanation and with the accompanying apology - yes, the front desk person added, this happens all the time, I asked "if you know someone is tax exempt, tell them at check-in that the correct statement will be e-mailed to them?"
Then the first thing a traveler would encounter when they wake up on their last day at the hotel wouldn't be the added annoyance of having to explain (usually to a different front desk person) that the taxes need to be adjusted. Marriott does so many, many things so very well, I wish I could include serving the tax-exempt government traveler experience to the list!
I'm only familiar with government exemptions and one needs to work for a government entity that possesses a state-issued certificate of exemption for sales and use tax. Further, one needs to have an ID and a credit card that states on the credit card "Government". Personal credit cards will not work.
Churches may also have the ability to be tax-exempt but I have no knowledge of that process.
The issue for the traveler is that the government gets you both ways - state auditors check tax exempt status for fraudulent use and probably penalize the hotel operation if they grant tax exempt status to non-exempt individuals. For the government travelers, their own business offices and budgets don't allow for payment of sales and use tax, which is why they have to obtain the tax-exempt certification from their state department of revenue.
I traveled with my government credit card for years and never had any issues having taxes included in my travel vouchers. The only time I ever had an issue was when a new manager questioned our travels and not using tax exempt forms and told us we had to use them.
Next time I tried to check-in I found the same issue that you mention and just told the manager when I got home that they taxed us. I told him if I have to stand and wait to deal with this stuff it will cost you overtime which is much higher than that tax the travel office has to pay.....guess he figured it out as it never became an issue again.
But your question is a good one and hopefully someone at Marriott or other Insiders will be able to tell us why!!
An update: I received an e-mail folio as promised by the front desk person at checkout. But the e-mail folio also showed the taxes still being included so I contacted the hotel and was transferred to their "Sr. Accounting Manager". He admitted that he wasn't aware that my stay was tax exempt and hadn't seen the paperwork on his desk. He confirmed that the process in place for tax exempt travelers was for the charges to be removed after they had been posted, which isn't until the early morning of the checkout date.
I mentioned that I was told he was the only one who could authorize/remove the taxes. He thought the front desk supervisor would have that ability, as well, that he would look into it, but that he was somewhat new to the property. He was exceptionally professional, promised to take care of it and within a couple of hours, I received a corrected bill.
Imagine this process or something fairly similar to it taking place each time you stay at a hotel. I'm just a handful of stays from over 1000 nights with Marriott and it's the recurring aggravation that no matter how many times I stay at the same hotel, the process never changes (which would be okay, as to the ID, the correct credit card, the state tax exempt certificate, etc.) except the outcome is that a subsequent visit to the front desk, the e-mail to the accountant, etc., are required before I can get a statement that I can submit to my bookkeeping office back home.
I recognize that there is often a great turnover of front desk staff and the training for all the situations a front desk person might encounter is daunting but I would really hope this thread/discussion might serve as a catalyst for someone to arrive at a better way of getting it right the first time, and each time after that...
Thanks to all of you who have commented. I'm looking forward to my next stay (on my dime) at the Ritz!!