TRALA Victory for Lessors as Michigan Fuel Tax Liability Reform Becomes Law
– TRALA-sponsored legislation in Michigan protecting lessors from liability for customer failure to pay fuel taxes was signed into law Dec. 14, by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The new law ensures that lessor/lessee responsibilities for unpaid fuel taxes will be determined contractually through lease agreements. Prior to the enactment of this law, Michigan was operating under a moratorium on the enforcement of joint and several fuel tax liability against lessors. The expiring two-year moratorium was the result of a legislative initiative by TRALA in 2004.The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) provides for lessor/lessee fuel tax liability to be determined by a lease agreement. While Michigan entered into the IFTA in 1994, the statute holding lessors and lessees to joint and several liability for unpaid fuel taxes was never repealed. TRALA became involved in resolving these conflicting laws when the state enforced the provisions of the joint and several liability statute against a Michigan-based TRALA member.