Tax Policy:

Allocating Motorboat Fuel Excise Taxes to the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund

GGD-87-43BR: Published: Jun 9, 1987. Publicly Released: Jun 9, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of the Treasury's allocation of gasoline excise tax revenues to the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund (ARTF), focusing on whether improvements can be made in the allocation process and in the databases Treasury uses to make allocations.

GAO noted that: (1) the excise tax revenue generated by the sale of gasoline for motorboats has become a major source of federal funding for ARTF; and (2) Treasury must estimate the amount of motorboat fuel taxes collected. GAO found that: (1) although Treasury has completely revised the method it uses to estimate national motorboat fuel consumption, the data still have limitations that reflect a lack of reliable data on motorboat fuel use separate from other forms of gasoline consumption; (2) Treasury needs precise data on national motorboat fuel use to make a more precise allocation of gasoline tax revenues to ARTF; and (3) Treasury could obtain the necessary data by conducting an appropriately designed national survey on motorboat use. GAO concluded that, short of conducting a nationwide survey, Treasury could enhance the reliability of its calculations by ensuring that it incorporates updated and new data into the calculations as they become available.

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