A judge will
decide Oct. 30 whether a suit against the state of Arkansas will
include all affected truckers, or just the one company named in
Trucking Association and Wayne Smith Trucking sued the Arkansas
Department of Finance and Administration May 23 over the agency’s
attempt to collect back sales tax from truckers.
The state has
asked Judge Ellen Brantley of Pulaski County Circuit Court, who
is presiding over the case, to restrict the suit to just the one
named plaintiff, Wayne Smith Trucking, and to not expand the case
to class status, which would allow any affected trucker to benefit
should the association win. Brantley has set a hearing on that motion
at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 30.
Kidd told Land
Line he wants to make a statement that more than just one trucker
to anyone, owner-operator or trucking company, that has been forced
to pay these back sales taxes to show up in that courtroom that
day just to send a message to the judge that this affects more than
one company,” he said.
erupted earlier this year when the International Registration Plan,
an interstate compact regulating trucking fees, ruled that truckers
who did not live in Oklahoma could no longer base plate there. That
forced hundreds, perhaps thousands of truckers to move their plates
to their home states.
the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration contended
the truckers would owe back taxes when the companies or individuals
moved their truck registrations back to Arkansas, even though the
truckers were considered legally registered at the time, and Arkansas
had accepted IRP fees based on those registrations. The department
contended that those truckers who were Arkansas residents and who
had base plated outside of Arkansas did so illegally.
The state sales
tax could run as high as $6,000 on a new rig.
Kidd said the
plaintiffs want the state to return the back sales tax it has already
It was not
the first time the state of Arkansas had filed a motion to dismiss
the suit. The state filed a motion in late June claiming the court
has no jurisdiction in the case.
John Tice of
the Department of Finance and Administration said the suit was filed
under Article 16, Section 13 of the Arkansas State Constitution,
which allows citizens to challenge the constitutionality of a tax
or whether a particular expenditure was appropriate.
Since the association
and Wayne Smith Trucking were not challenging the constitutionality
of the sales tax, Tice said, the state wanted the court to end the
on the state’s latest motion will be heard in the 16th Circuit Court Division of the Pulaski County Courthouse, Room 310.
--by Mark H.
Reddig, associate editor
can be reached at email@example.com.