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IRS Waives Diesel Fuel Penalty Due to Hurricane Harvey

See also the IRS Hurricane Harvey Information Center

IR-2017-139, Aug. 30, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in response to shortages of undyed diesel fuel caused by Hurricane Harvey, will not impose a penalty when dyed diesel fuel is sold for use or used on the highway.

This relief applies beginning Aug. 25, 2017, in the areas and counties for which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued waivers for Texas Low Emission Diesel Fuel. Those areas and counties are as follows: The Houston-Galveston-Brazoria area (the counties of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, and Waller); the Beaumont-Port Arthur area (the counties of Hardin, Jefferson, and Orange); the Dallas-Fort Worth area (the counties of Collin, Dallas, Denton, Tarrant, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, and Rockwall); and the counties of Anderson, Angelina, Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Bosque, Bowie, Brazos, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Colorado, Comal, Cooke, Coryell, De Witt, Delta, Falls, Fannin, Fayette, Franklin, Freestone, Goliad, Gonzales, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hill, Hood, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Jackson, Jasper, Karnes, Lamar, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Live Oak, Madison, Marion, Matagorda, McLennan, Milam, Morris, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Nueces, Panola, Polk, Rains, Red River, Refugio, Robertson, Rusk, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Somervell, Titus, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Washington, Wharton, Williamson, Wilson, Wise, and Wood.

This penalty relief is available to any person that sells or uses dyed fuel for highway use. In the case of the operator of the vehicle in which the dyed fuel is used, the relief is available only if the operator or the person selling the fuel pays the tax of 24.4 cents per gallon that is normally applied to diesel fuel for highway use. The IRS will not impose penalties for failure to make semimonthly deposits of this tax. IRS Publication 510, Excise Taxes, has information on the proper method for reporting and paying the tax.

Ordinarily, dyed diesel fuel is not taxed, because it is sold for uses exempt from excise tax, such as to farmers for farming purposes, for home heating use and to local governments for buses.

Finally, consistent with the EPA waivers, this penalty waiver for dyed diesel is effective through Sept. 15, 2017.  Also, consistent with the EPA waiver, this waiver does not apply to the Internal Revenue Code penalty for using adulterated fuels that do not comply with applicable EPA regulations.  Consequently, diesel fuel with sulfur content higher than 15 parts-per-million may not be used in highway vehicles.

The IRS is closely monitoring the situation and will provide additional relief as needed.

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