Alabama Blocks City Tax on Railway Fuel Purchases

BNSF Railway Company is receiving a $1.25 million diesel fuel tax refund from the City of Birmingham, Alabama. Under under the federal Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act, discriminatory taxes against railroads are prohibited. Therefore, Birmingham’s motor fuel excise tax on diesel fuel as applied to BNSF is nullified. The court concluded that the decision of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in CSX Transp., Inc. v. Alabama Dept. of Revenue, 888 F.3d 1163 (11th Cir. 2018) nullifies the taxes on the purchase and use of railroad diesel fuel. The summary judgment states, “As a result, and because the city’s power to tax derives from and parallels the state’s power to tax, the city’s local tax is also rendered invalid under the 4-R Act.” (City of Birmingham, Case No.: CV-2013-901031.00, December 1, 2021)

Posted on December 13, 2021