State and federal taxation raises concerns that have significant financial impact upon trucking operations in a variety of ways. For-hire and private motor carriers alike are called upon to address many types of tax planning and compliance issues on an almost daily basis. Scopelitis attorneys recognize that, in order to be responsive to clients' needs, we must plan for and respond to tax issues that have particular impact upon the transportation industry.
Sales and use tax concerns are especially relevant to trucking companies because the majority of states offer significant sales and use tax exemptions to for-hire motor carriers. We are regularly called upon to offer advice and counsel on the means by which to obtain the broadest scope of an exemption under the particular state law involved. Also, a restructuring of operations can often offer clients significant tax savings far beyond what they imagined, and we take pride in our ability to help design and implement each aspect of the change in business operations that can produce such benefits.
Issues pertaining to fuel taxes, at both the state and the federal level, are a perfect example of the type of tax questions unique to the transportation industry. Because we appreciate the day-to-day business operations of for-hire and private motor carriers, we also understand that compliance with fuel tax recordkeeping and reporting laws requires more than an analysis of what the applicable statutes and regulations require. Fuel tax recordkeeping requirements, under the International Fuel Tax Agreement and the similar requirements imposed by International Registration Plan guidelines, require the coordination of what is practical for the motor carrier operation and what is mandated by governing law.
Particularly at the multi-state level, state income taxes, unemployment compensation taxes, payroll taxes, and personal property taxes can also pose especially complicated problems. Because we represent members of the transportation industry nationwide, the interstate operations of our clients - with employees, independent contractors, and personal property based in and moving between various states - require us to address complex taxation issues on a regular basis. Also, as the federal government has reduced the distribution of federal tax proceeds to fund state needs, state taxing authorities have become increasingly aggressive in attempting to collect their "slice of the tax pie" from interstate motor carriers. The Scopelitis firm, therefore, regularly assists motor carriers in defense of the assessment of state income taxes such as corporate net income, gross receipts, franchise, single business, and other such taxes imposed upon multi-state businesses.
Regardless of the type of tax involved, we are available to assist clients on planning, recordkeeping, and reporting issues to prevent tax problems before they arise. When compliance problems do arise, or when erroneous assessments are issued, we stand ready to represent our clients at the audit, assessment, appeal, and refund levels as well. We regularly represent clients before a wide variety of state taxing agencies, the Internal Revenue Service, and various specialized tax courts.