Discover Boating recently reported that recreational boaters who purchase taxed fuel for use in their boats may be able to get a refund of all or part of that ‘highway use tax’ depending on the state in which the fuel was purchased. These fuel taxes are usually used to repair damage to highways, bridges and ferries caused by the wear and tear of automobiles.
Because boats do not cause this damage, applying marine fuel tax towards the highway improvement fund is widely viewed as unfair. Since BoatUS Government Affairs undertook a state-by-state survey of how marine fuel taxes are managed, a handful of states were found to provide refunds directly to boaters who apply for them. In addition, some 30 states funnel this money into a dedicated fund for boating, so, indirectly, it is returned. Many states apply the tax on marine fuel to boating programs through the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, almost 25% of the gasoline used for non-highway purposes (993,837 gallons in 2001) was used in marine activities, such as those you enjoy on your Monterey. The cost of this fuel generally includes a highway use tax of anywhere from 7.5¢ to 30¢ per gallon, depending on the state.
About a dozen states, recognizing that it is unfair to use recreational boaters’ tax dollars for highway improvements, offer refunds on marine fuel taxes. Procedures and qualifications vary, but typically, all Monterey owners need to do is save their fuel receipts and complete some paperwork (often available online).
The following states will refund state highway/road fuel taxes paid on marine fuel if boaters take the time to fill out forms and send in receipts: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
The following links offer more information on marine fuel tax refunds. Read the detailed instructions carefully:
www.americanboating.org/fueltax.asp, www.boatus.com/gov/state_taxrefund.asp, and www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/boe770du.pdf.