Bill aims to repeal 12% federal truck sales tax

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Img 2500 2016 02 17 09 48 1200x900U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) introduced Tuesday a bill that seeks to repeal the federal excise tax (FET) on the retail sale of most heavy-duty trucks, tractors and trailers.

Bills similar to H.R. 2946, “Heavy Truck, Tractor and Trailer Retail Federal Excise Tax Repeal Act of 2017,” have been introduced over the past several years, with none gaining enough traction to get the 12-percent tax removed from the sticker price of the truck. LaMalfa’s bill now heads to the House Ways and Means Committee.

“The excessive 12-percent federal excise tax on heavy trucks adds tens of thousands of dollars to truck purchases and directly impacts the cost of food, consumer goods and other products Americans need,” LaMalfa says. “Even worse, truck owners large and small pay this tax whether a truck is driven 100,000 miles or never driven at all, forcing them to pay taxes on an investment that may not be generating any revenue.

“The 12-percent federal excise tax on heavy-duty trucks is the highest percentage rate of any federal excise tax that Congress levies, and it adds $12,000 to $22,000 to the price of a new heavy-duty truck,” adds American Truck Dealers (ATD) Chairman Steve Parker, who is also the president of Baltimore Potomac Truck Centers. “The FET depresses new heavy-duty truck sales and delays the deployment of cleaner, safer and more fuel-efficient trucks.”

Rep. LaMalfa’s bill has the support of ATD, which represents more than 1,800 U.S. commercial truck dealers. The group is hosting its annual legislative fly-in to Washington, D.C., this week to rally congressional support for the legislation.

LaMalfa says repealing the truck tax will help small businesses invest in new equipment and jump-start domestic manufacturing, while also reforming an outdated tax code. The FET was originally imposed in 1917 to help defray the cost of World War I. The tax has grown from 3 percent, when it was incorporated into the Highway Trust Fund in 1955, to 12 percent today.

Parker called on Congress to include H.R. 2946 in the upcoming tax reform bill.