January 14, 2021
On the operations-side of running a motor carrier, making sure you file the appropriate taxes on your vehicles is key to keeping your fleet in compliance. One of those taxes is the United States federal heavy vehicle use tax (HVUT). The tax year for the HVUT runs from July 1 through June 30. Generally, taxes due must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year by August 31.
The heavy vehicle use tax (HVUT) applies only to vehicles with a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more that operate on a public highway.
The tax rate per vehicle varies based on the taxable gross weight of the vehicle, as follows:
55,000 pounds up to 75,000 pounds
$100 per year plus $22 for each 1,000 pounds above 55,000
Over 75,000 pounds
For example, if your company has 10 trucks operating in the United States at 80,000 pounds, the total tax due would be $5,500 ($550 x 10 trucks).
Carriers with 25 or more vehicles must file the tax electronically. If the carrier has fewer than 25 vehicles, filing on paper is allowed (but electronic is still preferred). Carriers will use Form 2290 and Schedule 1 to complete their tax filing.
An accepted filing by the IRS includes a stamped Schedule 1, which is returned to the carrier. The stamped schedule is the proof of tax filing. Proof of tax filing must be provided when registering vehicles with state agencies.
Canada- and Mexico-based carriers might be surprised to learn they are also responsible for paying HVUT for taxable vehicles operated in the United States.
Foreign licensing agencies are not required to enforce a U.S.-based tax. However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents may ask for proof of payment at a port of entry. If the tax hasn’t been paid, entry into the U.S. can be denied.