FUEL TAX DEAL TO EASE JOB FOR CANADIAN TRUCK FIRMS

FUEL TAX DEAL TO EASE JOB FOR CANADIAN TRUCK FIRMS

Truckers in half of Atlantic Canada will have a chance to reduce paperwork on Jan. 1 when New Brunswick and Nova Scotia join the International Fuel Tax Agreement.

The measure simplifies fuel tax reporting requirements for truckers operating in most Canadian provinces and states of the U.S.Under IFTA, carriers need only to fill out fuel tax permits and file consumption reports in the region they're based in.

"Whether we like it or not, no matter where our region is, our business has become national and international," said Ralph Boyd, executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association. With the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, more international programs like IFTA are going to be put in place, he said.

Of the remaining Atlantic Canada provinces, Prince Edward Island has

applied to join IFTA and is confident of being approved later this year while Newfoundland has yet to apply.

Besides Newfoundland, Ontario is the only Canadian province that has not joined IFTA.

The change will ease the burden of long-haul carriers in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that in the past had to apply for fuel tax permits and then file fuel consumption reports in provinces where they operated but were not based, Mr. Boyd said.

"This will reduce burden on paperwork for truckers and save time and money," said Allan Maher, New Brunswick's Minister of Finance.

Joining IFTA takes New Brunswick and Nova Scotia out of the year-old Atlantic Fuels Tax Agreement, which covers the maritime provinces. The AFTA rules are based on those of IFTA.

Truckers can join the IFTA system by paying a minimal license fee.

Mr. Maher said a notice explaining IFTA will be mailed to truckers soon and applications will be sent in November. Information workshops for truckers also are planned. All delinquent taxes must be paid before licenses will be issued.