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The trucking industry is asking Congress to suspend 2 taxes for relief

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  • Truckers, who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, are asking Congress to halt the practice of two taxes in order to help them stay afloat. 
  • They are looking to have the taxes suspended until next year.
  • Truckers have continued to work during the pandemic, delivering for grocery stores, hospitals, and online retailers.
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As the coronavirus pandemic continues, independent truckers are calling on Congress to place a moratorium on two major taxes in the industry in order to ease the economic impact of the virus. 

The pandemic led to truck purchasing decreasing by 70%, according to American Trucking Association Chairman Randy Guillot, who recently spoke with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, American Trucker reported.

“We’d like to get back to purchasing equipment again, and certainly the suspension of the [federal excise tax] would be a good way to incentivize the trucking industry to buy new and better equipment and get our manufacturers back to work again,” said Gulliot. 

In March of this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration suspended hours-of-service laws, which mandates how many hours a truck driver may work. This was in response to panic buying during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

A survey conducted by ATA revealed 60% of companies surveyed said they were “likely” or “very likely” to update some of their fleet — but only if the moratorium of the federal excise tax (FET) is passed. Suspending the FET would allow for some money to go back into the trucking industry.

The FET can add up to $22,000 in fees on a new truck. Critics argue that this tax prevents carried from “updating their fleets, keeping cleaner, safer and more fuel-efficient trucks from replacing older vehicles on the highways.”

In a letter sent to US House Democrats this past July, Rep. Chris Pappas asked for a moratorium on the FET until at least 2021. In the stimulus package later proposed by House Democrats, the moratorium was added, but not in the GOP proposal.

The second tax the industry is seeking to suspend was created by Congress in 1982 as a way to charge heavy-duty vehicles for damage done to roads. Called the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT), it charges truckers up to $550 depending on the weight of their vehicle. The tax is applied to all trucks in a fleet, and must be paid yearly.

Even with the substantial hit the industry has taken, truck drivers have continued to be in high demand, delivering to grocery stores and filling online orders, among other work. They are often an important part of the “final mile” of deliveries.

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