Recordkeeping is an important part of any company’s operation and is often required as a part of doing business. Recordkeeping requirements under the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) are no exception. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires motor carriers to retain certain documents as part of the Form 2290 filing.
Which records to keep
The types of records you’ll want to retain include:
- Copies of filed Form 2290 returns and schedules,
- Vehicle records, even if a vehicle is registered in your name for only a portion of a reporting period, and
- Mileage records for any vehicles listed as suspended from tax due.
Note: Vehicles may only be listed as suspended when mileage will not exceed 5,000 miles (7,500 miles for agricultural vehicles) during the tax period (July 1–June 30).
How long should 2290 records be kept?
The IRS requires carriers to keep files for at least three years after the date the tax is due or paid, whichever is later. Records must be available at all times for inspection by the IRS.
Records for each vehicle should include the following information:
- A detailed description of the vehicle, including the VIN.
- The weight of loads carried by the vehicle in the same form as required by the state in which the vehicle is registered.
- The date you took ownership of the vehicle and the name and address of the person from whom you acquired it.
- The first month of each period in which a taxable use occurred and any prior month in which the vehicle was used in the period while registered in your name, with proof that the prior use wasn’t a taxable use.
For example, a vehicle used for the entire tax period would show July as the first month of the tax period. However, if you purchased a vehicle in November but didn’t start using the vehicle until December, then December would be listed as the first month of the tax period where the vehicle was taxable (proof being your bill of sale and trip reports or other documents showing the vehicle was first used in December).
- The date the vehicle was sold or transferred to a new owner and the name and address of the purchaser. If the vehicle wasn’t sold, the records must show how and when you disposed of it.
- If the tax is suspended for a vehicle, keep a record of actual highway mileage. For an agricultural vehicle, keep accurate records of the number of miles it is driven on a farm.