New York state fuel tax suspension could bring additional costs

September 5, 2023

SJ Munoz


Completely blindsided.

That’s how OOIDA life member Dick Seyfang, based in Akron, N.Y., described the news of impending taxes potentially due despite a seven-month fuel tax suspension in New York state.

“We just got notified about it the other day,” Seyfang said. “My driver called me and said he got a letter in the mail. That’s how we found out. They are calling the sales tax an excise tax.”

A fuel tax suspension in New York state on motor fuel and highway diesel motor fuel from June 1 through Dec. 31, 2022 was lifted in January 2023.

However, local sales and use taxes were not suspended during this time, state officials say.

When motor fuel or diesel motor fuel was purchased during the suspension, the purchase did not include excise and state sales taxes.

Since the New York State fuel use tax was not suspended, drivers must still pay any fuel use tax due unless their vehicle is exempt, according to the state’s department of taxation and finance.

And if not for that letter to one of his drivers, Seyfang – and likely many other drivers – would have been unaware of any money owed. The written correspondence being sent from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance includes information for drivers on how to properly file their International Fuel Tax Agreement.

“There’s no due date and nothing as far as how much is owed at this point,” Seyfang said. “They’re going to review the IFTA for the last two quarters of last year and determine the amount since motor fuel vendors had the option of collecting or not collecting. The thing is, we were told the fuel tax was being suspended, but we never saw the prices come down.”

Following the agency’s review of a driver’s IFTA filing for quarters three and four of 2022, if article 12-A of the filing was not paid correctly, a letter to correct will be sent.

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While in the wait-and-see mode, Seyfang said over his 50-plus-year career, he couldn’t remember encountering a scenario quite like this. He added that it’s especially tough because it wasn’t something a driver could prepare for – although with the disparity between states when it comes to fuel taxes, Seyfang does tend to purchase fuel according to the highest tax rate to increase refund potential.

But the blindsiding situation he and others have encountered underlines the importance of always being aware and on top of your business.

“It’s just like how you keep safe on the road: You pay attention to what’s going on,” Seyfang said. “Focus on the success of your business and always stay vigilant.” LL

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