• PMAA Weekly Review

  • PMAA Weekly Review

     
    February 21, 2020 [WR-20-08]
    Sponsored by PDI Software
    who generously supports PMAA’s work in our Nation’s Capital.
     

    Quick Links to Articles for February 21, 2020

     
    IRS Issues Guidance on Claim Process for Retroactive Biodiesel Blender Credit; Revised Form 8849 Schedule 3 Now Available
    Use of Legalized Marijuana or CBD Oil Strictly Prohibited Under U.S. DOT Drug Testing Regulations
    Urge House Lawmakers to Oppose the Ban on Menthol Cigarettes
    EPA Discussing Biofuel Waivers Program with White House
    Tax Cuts 2.0 Proposal Expected in September
    ALIGN Act Would Make Full Expensing Permanent
    PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner Spotlight Featuring Federated Insurance
    Partner Sponsorships for Washington Conference Still Available!
    PMAA Journal Winter Issue Online Now
    Federated Insurance: It’s Your Life
     
    Articles for February 21, 2020
     
    IRS Issues Guidance on Claim Process for Retroactive Biodiesel Blender Credit; Revised Form 8849 Schedule 3 Now Available
    The IRS has issued a revised IRS Form 8849 Schedule 3 needed to file the one-time retroactive biodiesel credit claim for blends created during calendar years 2018 and 2019. Click here: (8849 Schedule 3 Rev. Feb. 2020) for a copy of the updated form. The form is also available at irs.gov under “forms and publications”.

    The IRS has issued special one-time claim procedure (IRS Notice 2020-8) for the $1.00 per gallon biodiesel blender credit, the 50 cents per gallon alternative fuel and alternative fuel mixture credits. The credits were reinstated retroactively for calendar years 2018 and 2019 under the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 (the Act).

    The special procedures allow for one-time credits and payments covering the entire 2018 and 2019 claim period. Congress reauthorized the retroactive biodiesel blenders credit through December 31, 2022 and alternative fuel and the alternative fuel mixture credits through December 31, 2020.

    Click here to read the full Compliance Bulletin.
    Use of Legalized Marijuana or CBD Oil Strictly Prohibited Under U.S. DOT Drug Testing Regulations
    The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol, has once again issued a clarification of the agency’s CDL drug and alcohol policy concerning state legalization of medical marijuana, hemp, CBD oil or recreation marijuana (Policy Statement). Federal law does not recognize the legalized status of these products.
    Last year, the DOT warned CDL drivers that the use of state legalized marijuana, medical marijuana, hemp and CBD oil will result in a positive drug test regardless of state legal status. The DOT issued this second clarification because the occurrence of positive drug test results for drivers using these products is increasing. Please see below the PMAA Regulatory Alert on this topic issued on May 20, 2019.

    The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol has clarified the agency’s drug and alcohol policy concerning the legalized use under state laws of CBD oil and legalized marijuana by CDL drivers. The policy is important to petroleum marketers and heating fuel dealers because it addresses how the state legalization of CBD oil and marijuana for medical and recreation purposes is treated under U.S. DOT drug testing requirements for CDL drivers (49 CFR Part 40).

    Both CBD oil and marijuana contain THC, a banned Schedule 1 substance under U.S DOT regulations. CBD oil derived from hemp contains 0.3 percent concentration of THC. THC concentrations in marijuana may range from anywhere between 5 percent and 30 percent. The U.S. DOT drug testing regulations do not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs for any reason. Therefore, a medical review officer (MRO) conducting driver drug tests will not issue a negative test result simply because the THC detected in a driver’s urine specimen was from the legalized recreational use of CBD oil or marijuana. In addition, an MRO will not issue a negative drug test based upon information that a physician recommended that the employee use medical marijuana where states have passed medical marijuana initiatives. Instead, THC from these (or any other) source will result in a positive test for the driver.

    What Do U.S. DOT Regulations Require?
    • Use of THC is forbidden for a regulated driver, no matter the source. As a result, medical and recreational marijuana and CBD oils, even if legal under state law, are banned under federal law.
    • Since THC is banned under DOT drug testing regulations, a medical review officer (MRO) must not take the medicinal use of a CBD oil into consideration when determining a drug test result.
    • A positive drug test result requires the motor carrier to remove the driver from safety-sensitive functions until specific steps in the DOT return-to-duty process are successfully completed. After a positive test, the driver must:
      • Be evaluated by a substance abuse professional,
      • Complete prescribed drug rehabilitation treatment, and
      • Have negative results for follow-up testing
    Communicate Cautions to CDL Drivers
    A driver’s career may be in jeopardy if a drug screen comes back positive. To avoid any misunderstandings surrounding the use of CBD oils and legalized medical or recreation use of marijuana, employers should communicate the following to CDL drivers:
    • Trace amounts of THC from CBD oils or marijuana may show up in a DOT urine specimen for many days after use,
    • MROs will not accept CBD oil or marijuana as a valid medical explanation for a positive DOT drug test, and
    • Enforcement authorities may consider CBD oil in a commercial vehicle as possession. Officers are unable to determine the concentration of THC in the oil, and there has been no official guidance for them to follow.
    Got Questions? Contact Mark S. Morgan, PMAA Regulatory Counsel at mmorgan@pmaa.org
    Urge House Lawmakers to Oppose the Ban on Menthol Cigarettes
    The House is expected to soon vote on a bill that will ban menthol cigarettes. H.R. 2339, known as the “Reversing the Youth Epidemic Act,” would wipe out a wide range of popular menthol cigarette products from convenience store shelves which could hurt businesses and threaten the larger economy.

    Click here to urge your members of Congress to oppose H.R. 2339.
    EPA Discussing Biofuel Waivers Program with White House
    According to news reports, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been seeking guidance from the White House on the future of the biofuel waivers program that issues small refinery exemptions (SREs) from the RFS. The move comes in response to a court decision that was made less than a month ago in which a U.S. appeals court ruled that the EPA had exceeded its authority and must reconsider the SREs that it had granted to three different oil refineries. The court ruling has led to speculation that the EPA will need to reconsider the amount of SREs it issues.

    Biofuel groups have grown increasingly irritated over the EPA’s granting of SREs. Many have argued that the numerous refinery waivers from the past few years have indirectly reduced the ethanol mandate which have driven down RIN values and, therefore, weakened the market for E15. Furthermore, midwestern Senators have criticized the EPA for granting the refinery waivers and not reallocating them to other obligated parties to make up for the lost gallons.

    According to Chet Thompson, president of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, “This decision would deprive EPA of a critical tool used to help small refineries disproportionately impacted by the RFS.” He added, “We hope the EPA will appeal this ruling and at the very least limit its impact to the 10th Circuit.”
    Tax Cuts 2.0 Proposal Expected in September
    Is a New Minimum Tax on Corporations on the Table?
    President Trump’s new tax proposal is expected in September, just as voters are deliberating who to vote for this Fall. The White House is said to be constructing a $1 trillion tax cut package which may include a 10 percent tax cut for middle-income payers, as well as making some other cuts permanent. The legislation is likely to include new adjustments in the tax brackets, which the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow has proposed that Tax Cuts 2.0 include a 15 percent middle class earning rate.

    Consideration is being given to allowing a portion of household income to be treated as tax-free for investing outside a traditional 401(k). Officials state that under this scenario, a household earning up to $200,000 could invest $10,000 of that income on a tax-free basis. Another proposal may seek to create universal savings accounts, known as USA accounts, which would combine and simplify all savings accounts that give tax breaks (retirement, education and health care savings) into one vehicle. Money put into the account would be done so on an after-tax basis, and taxed when withdrawn as well; however, any accumulation of profits during the investment timeframe (capital gains) would not be taxed.

    Preliminary discussions are also occurring regarding a new minimum tax on corporations to offset the new middle-class tax cuts. This and the other proposals are all preliminary, however, the President is adamant about the new tax package being focused on middle income earners since the proposal will be a political messaging tool.
    ALIGN Act Would Make Full Expensing Permanent
    The Accelerate Long-Term Investment Growth Now (ALIGN) Act was introduced recently by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA). Part of President Trump's 2017 tax reform allows businesses to immediately write off the full costs of certain business investments thru 2022, and the ALIGN Act would make that provision permanent.

    "Tax reform's most pro-growth feature was allowing businesses to immediately write off purchases of new equipment. It led to workers becoming more productive, which resulted in higher wages and more jobs," said Senator Toomey. "My bill to make full expensing permanent would give manufacturers and businesses of all sizes certainty around investment planning and it would keep our economy humming. I thank my cosponsors for recognizing the economic benefits of full expensing and look forward to getting this measure passed and signed into law."
    Additionally, the ALIGN Act fixes an inadvertent drafting error in the tax code that prohibits restaurants, retailers, and other leaseholders from taking full advantage of the expensing rules, leading to cost-prohibitive renovation projects and stalled investments. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin called this measure Treasury's "number one request to get a Congressional fix."

    The ALIGN Act is co-sponsored by Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Shelley Moore Capito (R- WV), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS), David Perdue (R-GA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jim Risch (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).
    PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner Spotlight Featuring Federated Insurance
    Protecting Your Business: You Hold the Keys
    Auto crashes continue to wreak havoc on our nation’s roads — and as a result on businesses that rely on vehicles to move people or goods. The devastation is apparent in employees and their families, who must cope with tragic consequences, and in courtrooms, where businesses are held responsible for the behavior of employees driving for company purposes.

    Court decisions designed to punish businesses are becoming more and more common. Your best chance to avoid a ruling that could reach into the tens of millions is to proactively address the common issues that arise in auto crash claims. Taken from National Safety Council CEO Janet Froetscher's presentation, this video of a deposition shows how inattention blindness can affect a driver's capacity to operate a vehicle safely. This video and presentation were offered as the final keynote of NAFA's 2013 Institute & Expo in Atlantic City, New Jersey and is a courtesy of Todd Clement, Janet Froetscher, National Safety Council.

    For additional information or to discuss this topic further, please contact your Federated regional representative or PMAA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472. Federated is a PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner.
    Partner Sponsorships for Washington Conference Still Available!
    PMAA wants to give a huge THANK YOU to our current Washington Conference 2020 Partner Sponsors: Federated Insurance, Renewable Energy Group, RAI Trade Marketing Services, Patriot Capital and Meridian Associates!

    PMAA and Arkansas Oil Marketers Association (AOMA) want to give a special thank you to the following Partner Sponsors for the Reception honoring our 2020 PMAA Chair Aaron Littlefield: Phillips 66 and Ancon Distributing!

    We appreciate the loyalty and support of each of our PMAA Corporate Partners and their continuous commitment to the petroleum industry. For more information on our Partner Programs and/or to be a Washington Conference Partner Sponsor, please contact Susan Isard.
    PMAA Journal Winter Issue Online Now
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