September 13, 2013

What Is the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT)? [Updated 2021]

It’s the time of the year where trucking companies are required to fill out the Form 2290 and Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT). If you’re operating your own business, you don’t want to be late on this payment, as it can incur heavy fees. Learn more about what it is, why it’s so important, and how to fill it out!

What Is the Form 2290?

If you are required to pay the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT), you’ll need to fill out the Form 2290. The Form 2290 is what trucking companies are required to fill out if they are operating a vehicle or combination that exceeds 55,000 pounds, based on a number of conditions, including:

  • The actual weight of the vehicle fully equipped for service when unloaded
  • The actual weight of any trailers used with the vehicle, when unloaded
  • The weight of the maximum load carried on the vehicle and the load carried on any trailers or semi trailers used with your vehicle.

The goal of the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax is to offset the costs of repairs on major roads and is mandated by the Federal Highway Administration. It all boils down to roadways needing to be maintained and heavier vehicles causing more damage to roads compared to their counterparts.

A purple semi truck on the road

When Is the HVUT Due?

The 2290 tax is based on the IRS fiscal tax year, not vehicle registration dates. The fiscal tax year is July 1 through June 30. It’s a common misconception to believe your 2290 is due the same month your registration dates are, but in reality, the 2290 is due on August 31st every year.

If you purchase a truck, the 2290 is due by the end of the month following the month when the truck was first put on the road. For example, if you buy a truck in January, but it doesn’t go into service until February, the 2290 is due by the end of March. The amount due is prorated based on the month it is put into service. In this example, you would pay the 2290 fee for the months of February-June.

How Much Is the 2290 Tax?

The answer is it depends, as it will vary from $100 to $550 per truck. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the general pricing for this varies based on the weight of each truck.

Gross Taxable Weight Heavy Vehicle Use Tax Rates
Below 55,000 lbs None
55,000 – 75,000 lbs Base $100, plus $22 per 1,000 lbs over the minimum 55,000 lbs
Over 75,000 lbs $550 per vehicle

We know this looks confusing, which is why we’ll help you figure out how much you actually owe and take care of all the paperwork for you. Just get in touch with one of our coaches to get the process started.

Who Isn’t Required to Pay the HVUT?

Even if you do meet the weight requirements, there are a few exceptions to this ruling, as this tax isn’t required to be paid if you’re working for certain organizations. Exceptions for the HVUT include:

  • Federal government
  • State government
  • American Red Cross
  • Nonprofit organizations like fire departments, ambulances, or rescue squads
  • Indian tribal governments with vehicles used for government functions
  • Mass transportation authorities

But if you are exempt, you must submit an exempt form to prove why you don’t have to pay this tax. Working for the Federal Government can mean a lot of things, so it’s important to see if you are required or not.

How Do I Submit the Form 2290?

Get in touch with our coaches, and we’ll help take care of the paperwork for you. We’ll ask you for everything you need, then take care of everything from start to finish. When talking to us, make sure you know:

  • The weight of your trucks and trailers
  • Your vehicle’s VINs
  • Your business information

There may be additional info, but we’ll let you know what you need to successfully fill out the form and pay the correct fee. You don’t want to overpay if you don’t have to, so leave it to the professionals so you can be confident it’s done right the first time.

Need More Business Tips?

We’ve got a variety of resources you can use to run a successful trucking company. If you haven’t yet, listen to Haulin Assets, our free podcast where we started our own trucking company and documented the process from start to finish. We also have additional resources you can use to learn more about additional regulations, such as:

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