New Bill Would Give Truckers Big Tax Breaks as “Thank You” for COVID-19 Relief
Washington D.C. – Newly introduced legislation would give truckers substantial tax breaks as a “thank you” for continuing to serve the country through the COVID-19 national emergency.
On Tuesday, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced the “Financial Relief Noting The Large Impact Of Our Nation’s Essential Employees Act” (FRNT LINE Act).
The bill would suspend federal income taxes for essential workers up to an annual income cap set at the highest level of pay for an enlisted person in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Additionally, the bill would provide suspension of federal payroll taxes for essential workers who earn up to $50,000 annually.
The tax suspensions under this proposal would begin on April 1, 2020 and end on the date the federal emergency declaration is lifted or sunset on December 31, 2020.
“Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, essential workers across the United States have continued in their daily jobs – to care for and protect Americans, to produce and deliver food and essential goods, and to uphold the critical infrastructure of our nation during this time of crisis,” Senator Ernst said.
“These front line workers—our nurses, truck drivers, and grocery store workers, child care providers, and so many others — have kept life going and our supply chains intact. These men and women are putting the interests of their fellow Americans ahead of their own. Each and every morning they wake up and go to work, and they should be rewarded for their selfless service.”
Backing the bill includes a list of 27 industry groups including: the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO), National Restaurant Association, Food Industry Association, and the International Dairy Foods Association.
What Do Trucking Groups Want?
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Congress is debating another round of stimulus relief due to the economic turmoil brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trucking groups such as the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) are pushing for a suspension of the Federal excise tax, which adds 12 percent onto the purchase price of new trucks and trailers.
The Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) favor waiving the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) for owner-operators.
“Congress must waive the 2020 payment of the HVUT to provide immediate tax relief to owner-operators, many of which are struggling to keep their businesses operational during the crisis and will continue to do so after,” OOIDA wrote to Congressional leaders earlier this year. “A straightforward way to help keep owner-operators in business would be a one-time waiver of the $550 fee most of our members pay per vehicle.”
Democrats Have Proposed “Hero Fund”
Democrats have their own ideas as well.
Back in April, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) proposed creating a “Heroes Fund” (HF) which would pay “essential workers” up to $25,000 in the form of a hazard bonus.
The HF would provide funds directly to eligible employer-partners so that they could distribute the premium payments.
Essentially, employers in industries engaged in “essential work” would apply to the HF for monies to be used to add line-item premium pay to employees’ or independent contractors’ paychecks.
The eligible employer would track these payments, provide payroll records demonstrating premium payments, and return any unspent funds to the Federal government.
New Legislation Expected Next Week
On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that Republicans are planning to introduce new legislation on COVID-19 relief next week.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly stated he would like to see a payroll tax holiday for all American workers and businesses included in the next round of stimulus.
However, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin indicated on Thursday that a payroll tax relief package was unlikely to be included.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow the latest developments.