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Publication 510


A tax is imposed on the first sale of coal mined in the United States. The producer of the coal is liable for the tax. The producer is the person who has vested ownership of the coal under state law immediately after the coal is severed from the ground. Determine vested ownership without regard to any contractual arrangement for the sale or other disposition of the coal or the payment of any royalties between the producer and third parties. A producer includes any person who extracts coal from coal waste refuse piles (or from the silt waste product that results from the wet washing of coal).
The tax is not imposed on coal extracted from a riverbed by dredging if it can be shown that the coal has been taxed previously.

Tax rates.(p32)

The tax on underground-mined coal is the lower of:
The tax on surface-mined coal is the lower of:
Coal will be taxed at the 4.4% rate if the selling price is less than $25 a ton for underground-mined coal and less than $12.50 a ton for surface-mined coal. Apply the tax proportionately if a sale or use includes a portion of a ton.


If you sell 21,000 pounds (10.5 tons) of coal from an underground mine for $525, the price per ton is $50. The tax is $1.10 × 10.5 tons ($11.55).

Coal production.(p32)

Coal is produced from surface mines if all geological matter (trees, earth, rock) above the coal is removed before the coal is mined. Treat coal removed by auger and coal reclaimed from coal waste refuse piles as produced from a surface mine.
Treat coal as produced from an underground mine when the coal is not produced from a surface mine. In some cases, a single mine may yield coal from both surface mining and underground mining. Determine if the coal is from a surface mine or an underground mine for each ton of coal produced and not on a mine-by-mine basis.

Determining tonnage or selling price.(p32)

The producer pays the tax on coal at the time of sale or use. In figuring the selling price for applying the tax, the point of sale is f.o.b. (free on board) mine or f.o.b. cleaning plant if you clean the coal before selling it. This applies even if you sell the coal for a delivered price. The f.o.b. mine or f.o.b. cleaning plant is the point at which you figure the number of tons sold for applying the applicable tonnage rate, and the point at which you figure the sale price for applying the 4.4% rate.
The tax applies to the full amount of coal sold. However, the IRS allows a calculated reduction of the taxable weight of the coal for the weight of the moisture in excess of the coal's inherent moisture content. Include in the sale price any additional charge for a freeze-conditioning additive in figuring the tax.
Do not include in the sales price the excise tax imposed on coal.

Coal used by the producer.(p32)

The tax on coal applies if the coal is used by the producer in other than a mining process. A mining process means the same for this purpose as for percentage depletion. For example, the tax does not apply if, before selling the coal, you break it, clean it, size it, or apply any other process considered mining under the rules for depletion. In this case, the tax applies only when you sell the coal. The tax does not apply to coal used as fuel in the coal drying process since it is considered to be used in a mining process. However, the tax does apply when you use the coal as fuel or as an ingredient in making coke since the coal is not used in a mining process.
You must use a constructive sale price to figure the tax under the 4.4% rate if you use the coal in other than a mining process. Base your constructive sale price on sales of a like kind and grade of coal by you or other producers made f.o.b. mine or cleaning plant. Normally, you use the same constructive price used to figure your percentage depletion deduction.


If you blend surface-mined coal with underground-mined coal during the cleaning process, you must figure the excise tax on the sale of the blended, cleaned coal. Figure the tax separately for each type of coal in the blend. Base the tax on the amount of each type in the blend if you can determine the proportion of each type of coal contained in the final blend. Base the tax on the ratio of each type originally put into the cleaning process if you cannot determine the proportion of each type of coal in the blend. However, the tax is limited to 4.4% of the sale price per ton of the blended coal.

Exemption from tax.(p32)

The tax does not apply to sales of lignite and imported coal. The only other exemption from the tax on the sale of coal is for coal exported as discussed next.
The tax does not apply to the sale of coal if the coal is in the stream of export when sold by the producer and the coal is actually exported.
Coal is in the stream of export when sold by the producer if the sale is a step in the exportation of the coal to its ultimate destination in a foreign country. For example, coal is in the stream of export when:
  1. The coal is loaded on an export vessel and title is transferred from the producer to a foreign purchaser, or
  2. The producer sells the coal to an export broker in the United States under terms of a contract showing that the coal is to be shipped to a foreign country.
Proof of export includes any of the following items.