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Federal Fuel Tax

By Richard Chapo

The IRS and Treasure Department have jointly announced an extension of relief for the dyed diesel fuel tax penalty in light of Hurricane Katrina.

Shortages Spur Extension of Relief

Diesel fuel comes in two general forms, clear and dyed. Dyed diesel is not environment friendly. Under laws passed by Congress, the IRS effectively bans the sale of dyed diesel fuel for use on highways. Put another way, the trucking industry must use clear diesel for transports.

In the wake of serious fuel shortage issues caused by Hurricane Katrina, the IRS immediately waived the tax penalties that effectively acted as a ban of the use of dyed diesel fuel. The order, however, was only effective until late September, but it was anticipated the Commissioner of the IRS would extend the tax relief.

In fact, the extension has now been issued to October 25, 2005. With the damage caused by Hurricane Rita, I anticipate yet another extension will occur as the 25th approaches.

While the penalties associated with dyed diesel are waived, the IRS has chosen to keep a basic diesel fuel tax in place. All sales of dyed diesel fuel are subject to a 24.4 cent tax per gallon. Either the retailer or purchaser can pay. The IRS, however, has indicated that it will waive any penalties and interest assessments associated with failure to make bi-weekly deposits of the tax. In addition, users of dyed diesel fuel need not concern themselves with any EPA restrictions related to its use during this temporary waiver.

In Closing

Typically criticized for reacting slowly, the IRS should be commended for taking quick steps to free up fuel from a tax perspective. Fortunately, the Agency is staying on top of the difficulties caused by Hurricane Katrina and reacting accordingly.

About the Author: Richard A. Chapo is with - Stop overpaying small business taxes. Visit to read more business tax articles about tax relief and tax help.