As soaring gas prices squeeze the towing industry across Canada, many companies are looking for ways to leverage their increased operating costs. In Ontario, towing businesses may take advantage of the government’s fuel tax refunds on power take-off equipment.
A towing company can recover a road tax ($0.143 per litre for diesel and $0.147 per litre for unleaded gasoline) if a tow truck has a power take-off (PTO) arrangement. A PTO operation refers to auxiliary equipment added to a licensed motor vehicle that uses clear diesel fuel, gasoline, or propane from the vehicle’s fuel tank(s) to operate PTO equipment.
“This program has been around for over 60 years. It was originally put in place to bring the car manufacturers into Ontario by giving them all of their road tax back on their fuel prior to any of the cars getting licence plates,” said Ryan Thomas, fuel tax specialist with
Holly Transportation Services.
Holly Transportation Services is one of the companies that specializes in recovering the PTO fuel refunds on behalf of their customers.
Holly Transportation Services got into this business 23 years ago; the company started processing these rebates for the septic industry
before expanding to other sectors.
They collect all information needed to submit a claim and handle the administration and government audit. “On average, we recover $300-$400 per vehicle per year,” said Ryan. “The first claim can date back four years.” Part of Holly Transportation Services’ job is to also handle the audit. “[We] do our due diligence to make sure we pass the audit,” said Ryan.
Over the years, Ryan’s company has closely cooperated with the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario (PTAO). One of their regular customers is Abrams Towing Services in Toronto. “We’ve been using Holly [Transportation Services] for six to seven years,” said Joey Gagne, owner and president of Abrams Towing Services and a past president of the PTAO. “I’m very happy with their service—well worth the effort. [It] found money for our company and helps the bottom line.”
There are basic qualifications for various vehicles. In the case of a diesel-powered vehicle, it must be licensed and operate a PTO
application. Gasoline refunds are available for licensed vehicles operating under a PTO application, as well as on unlicensed vehicles and equipment. Eligible vehicles include light-duty tow trucks, flat decks, and heavy-duty
Cover photo: Ryan Thomas at the Holly Transportation Services trade show booth