Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Tax Man Cometh!

There are times you don't want a letter from the Department of Revenue appearing in your mailbox but this one has a good ending. From day one of starting my veg oil car, I knew I would be high profile and attract attention both wanted and perhaps unwanted. In my (rather obsessive) research, I had found out that "organic fuel" users in Minnesota must pay the current fuel excise tax for every gallon of home-made fuel they put in their tank. Okaaaaay.... hmmm. I won't debate whether this is right or not, at least not now, but I started sending off quarterly checks to the Department of Revenue along with my form ORG-1 for the fuel I made and used from the very begining. Currently MN requires $0.20 per gallon excise tax and this is increasing slightly in the coming months.

Well recently, I got a threatening letter from Revenue stating that I have been identified as "a person that uses a special fuel and has not paid the motor fuel excise tax" with the letter detailing the criminal penalties that I will be charged with blah blah blah. Sorry, Dude. This was one of the times (albeit few) that I've done the legal thing from the start. I fired off a letter of my own along with documentation of my paid taxes and demanding a written apology, correction of my records, and a change of attitude towards alternative fuel users. To the field agent's credit, I received a very quick written reply apologising for the error and even had a request to participate in changing Minnesota's policy toward alternative fuel users. This I'll have to ponder a bit because I don't necessarily object to paying the fuel tax but I would like the State to recognize and encourage alternative fuel users instead of spanking them.


Joel said...

Really enjoy your WVO Blogs. We are in the process of converting a 1993 Ford F 350 -7.3 (as soon as we get it back from the transmission shop where it was towed to out of the Holland Tunnel last Sat.; yikes) You really simplified the filtration system. Pretty thoughful musings on how much we take handling fuel for granted as well.
Grease On ! visit us on the web @

Dan Houg said...

Thanks, Joel. I can only imagine the anxiety stopping in the Holland Tunnel must create!