Congress Reinstates Oil Spill Liability Tax on Prospective (Not Retroactive) Basis

The budget deal that Congress passed on Feb. 8 restores the 9-cent-per-barrel tax on oil to pay for spill cleanups.  The tax will not take effect until March 1, 2018, however, and will not be applied to transactions taking place between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28.

Many fuel marketers had been concerned that the legislation would apply the tax to 2018 transactions that have already been processed, creating significant transactional concerns and potential legal implications within the entire fuel supply chain.  The market had already experienced confusion over the prospect of the tax being retroactively applied.

NATSO members are advised that if any supplier has charged them for the tax as part of their supply contracts for transactions between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, 2018, they are entitled to a refund for that line item.  

NATSO's understanding is that different refining companies have taken different approaches to the issue this year; Valero, for example, reportedly charged the fee for the month of January (in which case it owes those customers a refund for those line items); Citgo, on the other hand, did not charge any fee for the month of January but began charging the fee in February (in which case its customers are likewise entitled to a refund for those line items in February).  

Other suppliers reportedly have not charged the fee at all, and were planning to bill customers in the event the fee was retroactively reinstated.  This is now not happening.

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David Fialkov

David Fialkov is the Vice President of Government Relations, as well as the Legislative and Regulatory Counsel, at NATSO. In this capacity, Mr. Fialkov directs NATSO's legislative, regulatory, and legal strategy on a range of issues, including transportation, energy and fuels, labor, data security, and taxes. Mr. Fialkov also oversees NATSO's political engagement program, including individualized legal and political counsel to member companies. Prior to joining NATSO, Mr. Fialkov was the senior associate in the Government Affairs and Public Policy practice at the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. At Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov advised clients on legislative, regulatory, and political issues, as well as legal concerns. His primary clients included trade associations representing the motor fuel wholesale and retail industries, including the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America. Mr. Fialkov's focus was not only on the motor fuels business, but also the litany of other issues that retailers confront, including labor matters, foodservice issues, healthcare and employment issues, tax matters and data security. Prior to joining Steptoe, Mr. Fialkov graduated with honors from George Washington University Law School. He received his B.S. Summa cum laude with highest honors from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Allison and daughter Lilah. More
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