Excise tax campaign meets roadblock

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OTTAWA, ON – The Canadian Trucking Alliance’s bid to restore Federal Excise Tax refunds failed to find a place in the government’s report on pre-budget consultations, but it was raised in the official opposition’s dissenting report to the Finance Committee.

The comments called on the government to “restore the excise tax exemption for diesel fuel used by anti-idling devices”.

“This is a good start to our campaign designed to raise awareness in Ottawa of the need to restore our sector’s ability to claim federal excise tax refunds used for anti-idling devices that help keep drivers warm and cool in their living spaces while on the road,” said Stephen Laskowski, vice president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance. “However, it’s equally important the government also restores exemptions for fuel used to control the temperature of precious goods and pharmaceutical cargo as well as operate power-takeoff units.”

Anti-idling devices reduce the amount of truck idling by 3% per year, helping to reduce emissions overall, the alliance says, citing research from Natural Resources Canada.

It isn’t the only way the tax is applied inconsistently.

“The Excise Tax Act still contains some provisions that exempt the excise tax in specific circumstances, such as diesel fuel used as home heating oil. Somehow, though, a truck cab is not included,” explains Laskowski. “We think this is flat-out wrong. How can you deny the federal excise tax rebates on the fuel used to heat and cool hundreds of thousands of truck drivers during mandatory rest periods while still claiming you don’t tax home heating oil?”

“To a long-haul truck driver, a truck and sleeper berth is as much of a home as is their residential address. Taxing the diesel to keep truckers warm at night while they are helping build our economy is, at its very least, an inconsistent tax policy,” he said.

For more information on the alliance’s campaign, click here.

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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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