More about New York tolls and highway tax

Phil Madsen | March 08, 2012

I learned today that what a trucker friend told me yesterday is true. Learned by checking it out with our carrier’s fuel and mileage department and reading New York state publications.

Diane and I woke up this morning in a retail area in Pittsfield, Mass. We delivered freight in the area yesterday. We have today to ourselves. Tomorrow we will pick up a load that will run our truck 3,000 miles.

I will borrow the language from New York State Department of Taxation and Finance publication to describe what I learned from my friend yesterday and from official sources today. The publication is “A Guide to Highway Use Tax and Other New York State Taxes for Carriers.”

I learned that, “Miles traveled on those portions of the New York State Thruway that are considered toll-paid mileage … are not subject to the highway use tax.” This is important because we will drive a lot of miles in New York and on the Thruway this week. I am interested to see how this all works out and what the numbers will turn out to be.

I am also irritated about not knowing this before. I have known for a long time that New York charges a mileage tax to trucks that most other states do not. But why did I not know of the thruway exemption?

Diane and I logged a lot of New York miles in our eight years with our former carrier. Were we told of this credit and simply missed what was there to claim, or did our carrier not talk about the credit because they did not want to bother with that administrative task? Regardless, it falls to us to know the rules of the game. Even if our carrier said nothing, Diane and I are the owner-operators. It is our responsibility to know what’s what.

When we ran with our former carrier, how much money did we leave on the New York tax table and why was it left? That is not a question to be deeply explored since there is nothing we can do about it now, but I do wonder.

Notice that our present carrier told us nothing about the thruway exemption either. I first learned of it from a friend and only got answers from our carrier when I initiated the inquiry.

In contrast to our former carrier when such questions were asked, our present carrier was wonderful. I dialed the main number and said “mileage tax” when the computer asked what I was calling about. I was transferred to a competent human being (not to voice mail of someone who would have called back only to say he or she would have to look into it and get back to us). This competent human being quickly picked up the phone, explained New York mileage tax and the thruway exemption in detail, and told me what information to fax in so she could get our truck credited with the thruway exemption. That is good service!

Let’s hear it, ladies and gentlemen, for competent human beings!

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