June 10, 2005
AOPA is asking the Treasury Department to write rules so that individual pilots and aircraft owners can save money and not be hassled by jet fuel tax refunds.
It's all about a change in public law and the belief that some truckers and other high-volume users of diesel fuel were cheating the government out of taxes. Because the federal jet fuel tax is 2.5 cents per gallon cheaper than the highway tax on diesel fuel, officials feared some truckers might be saving money by fueling up at the airport instead of at the truck stop. While Congress has put a stop to that raid on the federal treasury, the solution could increase costs and hassles for some pilots.
Public law 109-59 decreed that aviation fuel will be taxed at the same rate as highway fuel, but the "ultimate vendor" of aviation fuel could apply for a refund of the difference between the two taxes.
The devil is in the definition of "ultimate vendor." Some in government think it means the final consumer.
So in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, AOPA President Phil Boyer said that the department should "clarify that the end user is not the ultimate vendor and thereby should not be charged the additional tax or be required to request a refund.
"It is unrealistic and uneconomical to expect thousands of turbine-powered aircraft operators to apply as registered ultimate vendors to collect individual refunds," Boyer said.
"The end user should not be required to pay the additional tax nor apply for a refund."
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