Should Truck Sales Get a Big Tax Break?


If you’re looking to become an owner-operator in Massachusetts, you might be in luck. A new House Transportation Bill in Massachusetts proposes a huge tax break for truck sales.

The bill in question, dubbed H.4508,raises funds for transportation projects while adding state sales tax exemptions for the purchase of semi-trucks.

To put that into perspective, the sales tax in Massachusetts is 6.25%. When someone purchases a semi-truck for $100,000, they would have to pay an additional $6,250 to the Transportation Trust Fund. But H.4508 would change that.

What Massachusetts Gets Out of the Deal

In total, roughly a half billion dollars is supposed to be generated via this bill, even with the tax exemption on trucks. To accomplish this, the following tax increases would be added if H.4508 passes.

  • 5 cents added to the 24 cents per gallon gas tax
  • Diesel raised by 9 cents per gallon
  • Minimum corporate tax rates increased in Commonwealth
  • More fees added to rideshare services

Although the fuel prices are likely to have an effect on trucking, being able to buy a new semi-truck without needed to fork over more money for sales taxes would be a huge incentive to aspiring owner operators.

And this could also be good for company drivers who want their carriers to buy the newest equipment to work with.

What Truckers Have to Say About H.4508

According to Kevin Weeks, Executive Director of Trucking Association of Massachusetts, there are already 37 other states that offer semi-truck state sales tax exemption. Weeks said that “the trucking industry in Massachusetts has been in decline as many trucking companies have gone out of business or moved to other states.”

Facing a heavy tax burden when trying to buy a better, more fuel-efficient tractors only encourages owner-operators and carriers to forego the purchase altogether or find another way to get out of the cumbersome fee.

Should Other States Follow Suit?

Getting a brand new semi-truck without any state taxes attached is a great deal for aspiring owner-operators. And as stated, even company drivers benefit with new equipment.

More fuel-efficient trucks make it possible for owner-operators and carriers to save loads of cash on diesel, as well as the following benefits:

  • Less likely to need repairs or maintenance, increasing drive miles.
  • Better suspension system creates a smoother ride, thus reduces freight damage
  • Improved brake technology and state-of-the-art safety gear decreases the risk of accidents

Needless to say, there are quite a few reasons to purchase a semi-truck right off of the production line. That said, Massachusetts has not passed H.4508 as of date.

If no additional amendments are added to the bill truckers in the state may very well be able to buy a new semi-truck at a lower price, in exchange for higher fuel prices that may not be noticeable if the rig is much more fuel-efficient.