I just got my motor carrier property tax valuation from a certain state that shall remain unnamed.
And boy, are they wrong. Waaaayyyyy wrong……… I’ll explain in a minute…
But this does make the point that one of the things a person should know before getting into business is the amount and frequency of taxes they will owe to various entities. For a brick & mortar business it’s a little more simple. For trucking concerns, it can be a nightmare.
Just to keep tabs on the taxes I pay just for the privilege of being in business, (and just because I can,) I’m making a list….
1. State and Federal Income Tax (I know, this is personal, but it’s generated by the business)
2. Fuel Tax (on every gallon I buy just like you do)
3. IFTA Tax (quarterly to various states based on my mileage in that particular state and whether or not I bought fuel there, and this is in addition to the tax I pay at the pump, just so’s ya know)
4. Various state motor carrier taxes and permits. So far I’ve had to pony up to New Mexico, Arkansas, and Kansas. I’m way under big rig weight or I’d be writing checks to Kentucky and New York too, so I hear.
5. Property taxes (Yes, I pay extra taxes on my truck & trailer, and not just in my state, but also in some states that I simply drive through once in a blue moon…)
6. Vehicle registrations (oh yes, these are taxes too)
7. IRP (sort of connected to IFTA in the form of an apportioned truck tag, and yes, this is another tax)
8. And finally, sales tax. (In my state you pay it unless you have a resale license which doesn’t apply to trucking)
9. (Doesn’t apply to me) but big trucks also have to pay a Heavy Use Tax
At any rate, I pay a heck of a lot in taxes once you tally it all up at the end of the year. And those are just business related.
I still pay normal everyday citizen taxes on top of those such as real estate tax, sales tax for my non-business stuff (food, etc.) and whatever else taxes the good old government might think up to send me a bill for.
Now, I don’t really mind paying a reasonable amount of taxes, after all, we have to pay for that infernal road construction that makes our lives miserable 9 months out of the year in most places.
This is not to say that I wouldn’t really like to see all the assorted taxes thrown out and one simple tax put in their places for the sake of simplicity and convenience, but then again it is the government in all of it’s various forms (federal, state, local, etc.) we’re talking about here… if you get my drift.
So… simple tax?
That will probably happen at about the exact same moment that twenty winged monkeys wearing polka dot bloomers fly out of my little Chihuahua’s backside.
I don’t mind that my property (real estate) taxes go to fund local programs, schools for kiddos, and buy cops ballistic vests, support senior citizen centers, or that my state sales taxes go to support other state programs and to keep troopers supplied with the necessary tools to keep them safe on the highways.
(One caveat, I do resent having to pay for able-bodied and able-minded folks welfare and food stamps when I have to work for every cent that comes my way, but that’s separate, and probably not trucking related post…)
But I really have to draw a line in the sand when a governmental agency uses hugely flawed data to calculate what they think I owe them. I mean, at least do it with accurate info.
It’s bad enough to get any tax bill, let alone one that’s hugely and obviously inflated.
Case in point, and back to my original statement:
This certain state just sent me a $500 tax bill for 5 (count them) 5 truck and trailer combos, and said that I ran 25,000 miles in their state, and 500,000 miles in all states for the tax period in question.
Even though $500 is not going to make or break me, it’s just plain wrong.
What the holy hey???
Ahum, excuse me, but I run a little 1-truck hotshot business and last year (my first year in business by the way) I did a grand total of 37 thousand miles, and only 2,105 of those miles in that particular state.
Who do they think I am, Wonder Woman?
I doubt even that frisky gal could chalk up half a million miles by herself in one year, or drive 5 different rigs at one time….
By my calculations, they’re trying to overcharge me about 450 smackaroos, which does not make me a happy camper. To add insult to injury, I checked online, and they actually do have my accurate info on file. So someone really blew it, to say the least…
So, in swift retaliation against this most glaring example of bureaucratic incompetence, I typed up a polite but firm letter of protest with about 20 pages of documentation attached. (At least they nicely gave me 15 days from the date they sent it out to protest, which leaves me exactly 11 days to get my answer to them..)
I’ll be hauling said missive up to the local post office here in about 10 minutes and sending it off registered so they have to go to the inconvenience of signing for it.
(And sending it registered so they can’t come back later and say I didn’t protest in time.)
Being either a total fool or an eternal optimist (it could go either way most days) I’m actually expecting good results. I’ll let you know if they get it right the second time around…