District of Columbia Tax Exemption Class Action

American Philosophical Association, et al., v. District of Columbia
Superior Court of the District of Columbia- Tax Division
No. 2019 CVT 000003

If your organization is a member of the Class and this class action is successful, your organization may be entitled to obtain a refund of sales and hotel taxes it paid for events that your organization held in the District of Columbia (the “District”) since December 12, 2016.

The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by the American Philosophical Association and American Anthropological Association on June 12, 2017, and is currently proceeding under the caption: American Philosophical Association v. District of Columbia, 2019 CVT 000003. By their Complaint, the organizations allege that a District law discriminates against out-of-District “semipublic institutions” and violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution because that law only allows semipublic institutions that have physical offices in the District to obtain an exemption from paying sales and hotel taxes.

While the Court has not yet ruled on the merits of this Constitutional Claim, the Court has ruled that the lawsuit can proceed as a class action on behalf of the following Class:

All semipublic institutions that do not have offices within the District that paid a sales or hotel tax to any of the hotels listed below in connection with any meetings held at any such hotels for the purpose for which the institution was organized or for honoring the institution or its members from December 12, 2016, and continuing until there is a final determination that the requirement under D.C. Code § 47-2005(3)(C) that a semipublic institution must reside in the District in order to obtain an exemption from sales and hotel taxes violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution (the “Class Period”).

The Hotels are: The Washington Hilton, the Marriott Marquis, the Renaissance Washington, the Omni Shoreham Hotel, the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Mayflower Hotel, the Hyatt Regency, the JW Marriot, the Capital Hilton, the Willard Intercontinental, the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, the Fairmont, the Mandarin Oriental, the Watergate Hotel, the Hilton D.C. National Mall Hotel, the Marriott Georgetown, the Washington Marriott at Metro Center, and the Westin Washington City Center.

The District contends that the Code is constitutional and that it owes no tax refunds.

DO NOTHING Stay in this lawsuit. Await the outcome. Give up certain rights.

By doing nothing, the organization keeps the possibility of getting a tax refund that may come from a resolution of this lawsuit in favor of Plaintiffs and the Class or a Class settlement. But the organization would give up any rights to sue the District on its own about the legal claims in this lawsuit.
ASK TO BE EXCLUDED Exclude the organization from participation in this class action lawsuit. Get no benefits from it. Keep certain rights.

If the organization asks to be excluded from this case, the District law is ultimately held to be unconstitutional, and the organization would have been entitled to a tax refund if it had stayed in the case, the organization will not be able to obtain a tax refund from this lawsuit. But the organization will then keep any rights it might presently have to sue the District separately about the same legal claims in this lawsuit. If your organization wishes to be excluded, please see the Notice of Pendency of Class Action with instructions on Requesting Exclusion from the Class. Request for Exclusion must be postmarked by January 27, 2022.


These rights and options — and the deadlines to exercise them — are explained further in the Notice of Pendency of Class Action . Please continue to check this website for case updates.