October 24, 2003
Summary of Proceedings
2003 FTA Motor Fuel Tax Section Annual Meeting
To State Tax Administrators:
The Annual FTA Motor Fuel Tax Section Meeting was held September 21-24, 2003, in Charlotte, North Carolina. This bulletin summarizes the presentations made at the conference and lists the papers that are available. It also summarizes the Motor Fuel Section Annual Business Meeting. Copies of the Resolutions approved at the Business Meeting are attached.
Presiding over the conference was Joe O’Gorman, Assistant Chief, Audit Services, New Jersey Division of Taxation and Motor Fuel Tax Section National Chair. Welcoming the participants to Charlotte, North Carolina, was E. Norris Tolson, Secretary of North Carolina Department of Revenue and Alan P. Felton, Assistant Secretary, Examination and Collection, North Carolina Department of Revenue.
SESSION - MONDAY
Air Force ROTC of UNC, presented the colors. The 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus, Ft. Bragg, NC, entertained meeting participants with their rendition of the United States Anthem and Christina Desoto sang the Canadian Anthem.
E. Norris Tolson, Secretary of North Carolina Department of Revenue, welcomed everyone to North Carolina and gave advice on what the great state of North Carolina has to offer. He commended those present for their dedication to the administration of motor fuel taxes.
Sherri Alston with the Federal Highway Administration gave an update on the energy bill and the Transportation SAFE-T bill currently before Congress.
Rich Little, Program Analyst for the Internal Revenue Service gave us an update on the ExSTARS system. The IRS currently has a data perfection team established to analyze the data to make sure that all data being submitted to ExSTARS is correct. The data perfection team has two state representatives – Dave Skinner of Florida and Doreen Warren of Idaho. The system currently has 1024 TCN’s reporting via EDI. The ExSTARS information is available for states to review.
David Retz, Tax Counsel, Chevron/Texaco, gave the API update, which included the proposed energy bill. Industry is also working with the perfection team for ExSTARS to make sure the information is ready for states to use.
Ron Raven, Attorney, gave the PMAA, ILTA and NORA updates. PMAA is currently working on alternative fuels such as biodiesel, ILTA is currently working on EDI reporting at the terminals and NORA thanked the FTA for the Uniform Product Codes they requested.
Ken Duggan, Project Manager, Canadian Fuel Tax Council, gave an overview of uniformity updates occurring in Canada. He also mentioned that the Canadian Fuel Tax Council became a permanent entity. Christy Dixon of Oklahoma and Bill Gray of Sinclair Oil discussed uniformity updates for the U.S. and the accomplishments of each subcommittee for the past year.
Harley Duncan, Executive Director, Federation of Tax Administrators, gave an update on the states and thanked North Carolina for the wonderful conference.
SESSIONS - MONDAY
Two concurrent sessions were repeated throughout the afternoon:
Evasion Schemes. This session was a discussion of opportunities for evasion and various schemes to take advantage of those opportunities. Joe O’Gorman was the moderator of a panel consisting of Roger Bair of Indiana and Dave Skinner of Florida. The panel members discussed removal of dye at the terminal, the Southern Import Task Force and other potential schemes.
Mergers and Ownership Changes in the Industry. This session was a discussion of the various concerns with mergers and ownership changes. Robynn Wilson, Motor Fuel Tax Program Manger, Alaska Department of Revenue, and the Motor Fuel Tax Section National Vice Chair moderated the panel. Participants on the panel were Pat Platt of Kansas, Angie Hill of Michigan, Ron Travis of BP Oil and Jim DeClaire of ChevronTexaco. The panel members covered the concerns from the state and industry perspectives.
MEETINGS - MONDAY
The four regions – Midwestern, Northeastern, Pacific, and Southern – conducted separate meetings to review their 2003 activities and to plan 2004 activities.
SESSION - TUESDAY
Alan P. Felton, Assistant Secretary, Examination and Collection, North Carolina Department of Revenue, welcomed everyone to the great state of North Carolina and remarked on the success of the meeting.
Linda Morris, Manager, Fuel Tax Evasion Program, Federal Highway Administration, gave an overview of the Importation Task Force. Linda gave statistics on where our fuel is coming from and where it is going. She also provided information on what data is being collected and who is looking at it.
A panel discussing technology in auditing included presentations by Steve Miller on Idaho’s automated reconciliation process; Marcia Leichner on Nebraska’s electronic filing program; and John Nordlie on Wisconsin’s electronic filing program.
A panel discussing communication between states and industry included presentations by Jane Lake of Nebraska, on communication; Amber Carpenter on Montana’s Motor Fuels Advisory Council; and Gary Harris, Executive Vice President of the NC Petroleum Marketers Association, on communication from the industry’s perspective.
Allan Ferullo, Supervisor of the Motor Fuels Tax Unit, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, extended an invitation to all meeting participants to attend the 2004 Motor Fuel Annual Meeting October 3-6 at the Marriott Boston Quincy Hotel in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Peter Steffens with the Florida Department of Revenue and past Chair of the Motor Fuel Tax Section presented state of Tennessee retiree Eddie McCormack with the Robert E. Beck award.
Joe O’Gorman concluded the general session with the National Chair’s report and presented the National Chair’s Awards for dedication and contributions to the Motor Fuel Tax Section and Uniformity Project to Ed King of California, George Higdon of Mississippi, Pat Platt of Kansas, Paul Sload of Pennsylvania, Ken Duggan of the Canadian Fuel Tax Project and Al Howard Consultant.
SESSIONS - TUESDAY
Two concurrent sessions were repeated throughout the afternoon:
Motor Fuel Court Cases. Peter Steffens moderated this panel consisting of Dave Skinner of Florida, Paul Sload of Pennsylvania, Wilda Ice of West Virginia, Steve Miller of Idaho and Larry Lang of South Dakota. The panel members’ discussion covered current motor fuel court cases.
ExTOLE – Hands-on Experience. Michael Dougherty, Assistant Director, Maryland Comptroller’s Office, and George Higdon, Director of the Petroleum Tax Division, Mississippi State Tax Commission, conducted a presentation of the ExTOLE system. This session provided states live access to the system and also provided a forum for questions regarding the system.
BUSINESS MEETING - TUESDAY
The four regions reported on their regional meetings for 2003 and announced the locations for their 2004 meetings. The Time and Place Committee announced the following upcoming meetings:
2004 Quincy (Boston area), Massachusetts October 3-6, 2004
2005 Omaha, Nebraska (date not final yet)
2006 New Mexico (date not final yet)
The Resolutions Committee offered seventeen resolutions, all of which were adopted. The Nominations Committee nominated Robynn Wilson, Manager, Motor Fuel Tax Program, State of Alaska for the 2004 Motor Fuel Tax Section National Chair and Christy Dixon, Tax Auditor, Oklahoma Tax Commission, for 2004 Motor Fuel Tax Section Vice Chair. Both nominations were accepted and approved. The Uniformity Co-Chairs for 2004 are Bill Gray of Sinclair Oil as the industry representative and the state representative is currently vacant.
SESSION - WEDNESDAY
Quinton Hess, Fuels Tax Manager, Oregon Department of Transportation gave a presentation on Oregon’s recent Vehicle Mileage Tax Law.
Wilda Ice, Auditor III, West Virginia Tax and Revenue gave a presentation on state and industry working together in the field.
Lt. Marc Nichols, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Motor Carrier Enforcement Administration, gave an update on homeland security issues.
Charles Hatcher III, Regulatory Director, Biodiesel Board reviewed the development of biodiesel and provided an overview of this alternative and its future. He also talked about biodiesel tax administration.
Motor Fuel Tax Section
Motor Fuel Tax Section Uniformity Updates
Canadian Fuel Tax Council
Linda Morris, Federal Highway Administration
Technology in Auditing
Charles Hatcher, Biodiesel Board
Quintin Hess, State of Oregon
Mergers and Ownership Changes in the Industry
Michael Dougherty, State of Maryland