Georgia tries to collect missing money

News Associated Press January 02, 2004
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According to Georgia's Macon Telegraph, state transportation officials are hoping new legislation will allow the state to colle

According to Georgia's Macon Telegraph, state transportation officials are hoping new legislation will allow the state to collect millions of dollars in gasoline taxes that are lost to fraud and mistakes every year.


Starting this month, all of Georgia's approximately 12-cents-per-gal gasoline tax will be collected by the state's 350 wholesale distributors when they sell tankerloads of fuel to retail filling stations. Lawmakers believe the increase collections could bring in as much as $20 million a year.


For years, nearly 5 cents of the gas tax, which brings the state about $700 million a year, has been collected by the retailers, and DOT officials say there are flaws in that system.


Truckers burn untaxed fuel meant for off-road vehicles in their on-the-road rigs; gas station owners shave gallons off their tax returns; bootlegging distributors purchase fuel in Georgia and report selling it to retailers here, but actually sell it in neighboring states with higher gas taxes and pocket the difference; and other mistakes simply go unnoticed.


The DOT will try to take the collections effort further when the General Assembly convenes next month, asking to move the collections to the terminal where fuel is pulled from a refinery's pipeline and loaded onto distributors' tanker trucks.


If it started collecting at the state's 45 terminals, Georgia would join 21 states that now collect gas taxes either at the terminal or as soon as gas shipments arrive within their borders.



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