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North Carolina Sweeping Company Gets NC Rebate for Excise Tax on Fuel

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross

North Carolina's parking area contractors now can get a rebate on the excise taxes paid on 1/3 of their sweeper fuel.

Norwood and Betsy Carter's sweeping company, Lisbon Maintenance, Inc., has been operating in North Carolina for the last decade. Ever since I negotiated with the IRS to obtain a rebate on the federal excise tax for fuel used used by parking lot sweepers about 5 years ago, Norwood has been frustrated that North Carolina wouldn't allow a rebate on the state fuel excise tax, as well.

Bids-A-Lot Information

Unlike most people, Norwood didn't take no for an answer. Instead, for the past several years he has been working with the NC excise tax office and, ultimately, one of his local legislators, in an attempt to get a state fuel rebate in place. His story could be a blueprint for other sweeping contractors, in other states, to use in changing the law in their state, as well.

"I've been working on this project off and on for over three years," Carter said. "In the course of that I've gone to our state capitol, in Raleigh, NC, to plead my case. I even met personally with the top man in the Excise Tax Division. His response was basically to laugh at me and tell me that no way did sweepers qualify.

Unfortunately, I found that he was right. There was a law that allowed some specific types of machines to qualify for a fuel tax rebate, but sweepers weren't on the list.

"I really couldn't get anywhere on this issue until I met with my senator, Charlie Albertson. Senator Albertson was willing, first off, to take the time to understand our situation in sweeping. Then, once he could see the validity of our situation, he then became willing to spearhead a new law that finally put the rebate into place.

"Senator Albertson introduced and got passed a bill that became NC Senate Rule DRS1501-MA-2, "An Act to Allow a Refund of a Portion of Motor Fuels Taxes Paid for Fuel Used by a Power Sweeper." The law went into effect on January 1 of 2006.

Senator Charlie Albertson and Norwood Carter

In short, the new law allows North Carolina-based sweeping contractors to get a refund of 1/3 of the fuel used by their sweepers. Specifically, it reads:
"The amount of refund allowed is thirty-three and one-third percent (33 1/3%) of the following: the sum of the flat cents-per-gallon rate in effect during the year for which the refund is claimed and the average of the two variable cents-per-gallon rates in effect during that year, less the amount of sales and use tax due on the fuel under this Chapter.

An application for a refund allowed under this section must be made in accordance with this Part. This refund is allowed for the amount of fuel consumed by the vehicle in its mixing, compacting, sweeping, or unloading operations, as distinguished from propelling the vehicle, which amount is considered to be one-third of the amount of fuel consumed by the vehicle."

In short, it appears you can get a tax refund on 1/3 of the total amount of fuel used in your parking area sweeper. Since no distinction is made between single- and dual-engine machines, it is likely that single-engine sweepers will qualify for the rebate program, as well.

Since Norwood was in the textile industry for 37 years before getting into sweeping, he's moving toward retirement. However, his son, Randall, is in the process of taking over their family sweeping business.

If any of the other sweeping contractors in North Carolina have questions about how to get fuel taxes back under the program, the contact person at the NC Department of Revenue is Donna Alderman. Her number is 919-733-3409.

You may also reach Norwood Carter (to thank him!) via email sent to:

Editor's Note: Many parking lot sweeping contractors have found it difficult to navigate through the necessary paperwork and regulatory maze when applying and qualifying for a refund on the federal tax portion of their fuel expense.

As a result, is now offering a filing service that charges you for the service only if you obtain your refund. If you would like more info on this, just let us know.

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