<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=114819295626675&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
6 min read.

The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax and How to File It

Mar 16, 2023 7:28:27 PM

heavy vehicle use tax blog banner

The heavy vehicle use tax (HVUT) is a federally mandated tax that must be paid annually by owners of vehicles with a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more. The purpose of this tax is to fund road and highway construction and maintenance projects across the United States. In this blog post, we'll delve into the details of the tax, including who is required to pay it and how to file.

What is the heavy vehicle use tax?

The HVUT is an annual tax that is imposed on heavy vehicles that operate on public highways. The purpose is to help fund projects related to road construction and maintenance. The tax is calculated based on the gross weight of the vehicle and the number of miles it travels on public highways during the tax year. The tax payment is due each year and must be paid to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Who is required to pay the heavy vehicle use tax?

Any individual or business that owns a heavy vehicle with a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more, operates it on public highways and drives it at least 5,000 miles annually is required to pay the tax. There are exemptions available, but this generally applies to most trucking companies and owner-operators. To pay the tax, Form 2290 must be submitted.

Who is exempt from the heavy vehicle use tax?

According to the DOT, vehicles owned by federal, state or local governments are exempt from paying the tax. Exemptions also apply to the following organizations or uses:

  • American Red Cross
  • Non-profit volunteer fire department, ambulance association or rescue squad
  • Native American tribal government, if the vehicle is used for an essential function
  • Mass transportation authority
  • Organizations that collect blood donations
  • Certain mobile machinery for non-transportation functions

In addition to these cases, commercial trucks that travel less than 5,000 miles annually are exempt from paying the tax. So too are trucks used for farming and agricultural operations that travel less than 7,500 miles annually.

When is HVUT due and how do you file HVUT payment?

Payment for the heavy vehicle use tax is due by August 31 each year. To file, you will need to complete and file Form 2290 with the IRS. This form can be filed electronically or by mail. The IRS recommends filing electronically as it is faster and more efficient. If you choose to file electronically, you will need to use an IRS-approved e-file provider. These providers will charge a fee for their services, but they will also ensure that your form is filed correctly and on time. You will also receive a stamped Schedule 1, which is proof that you have paid the HVUT. 

If you choose to file by mail, you will need to download Form 2290 from the IRS website, complete it, and mail it to the address provided on the form. You will also need to include a check or money order for the amount of the tax due. It is important to note that if you are filing for multiple vehicles, you may be required to file electronically. The IRS requires that any individual or business that is filing for 25 or more vehicles must file electronically.

When completing Form 2290, you will need to include your name, address, employer identification number (EIN) and vehicle identification number (VIN). You will also need to know your vehicle's taxable gross weight in order to calculate the tax amount due. The taxable gross weight is the total of 1) the unloaded weight of the vehicle, 2) the unloaded weight of any trailers customarily used with the vehicle and 3) the weight of the maximum load customarily carried. Taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds is assessed a fee of $100. An additional fee of $22 is charged for every 1,000 pounds above that threshold up until 75,000 pounds. Taxable gross weight of 75,000 pounds is assessed a fee of $550. 

Taxable Gross Weight (in pounds) Annual Tax
55,000 $100.00
55,001 – 56,000 $122.00
56,001 – 57,000 $144.00
57,001 – 58,000 $166.00
58,001 – 59,000 $188.00
59,001 – 60,000 $210.00
60,001 – 61,000 $232.00
61,001 – 62,000 $254.00
62,001 – 63,000 $276.00
63,001 – 64,000 $298.00
64,001 – 65,000 $320.00
65,001 – 66,000 $342.00
66,001 – 67,000 $364.00
67,001 – 68,000 $386.00
68,001 – 69,000 $408.00
69,001 – 70,000 $430.00
70,001 – 71,000 $452.00
71,001 – 72,000 $474.00
72,001 – 73,000 $496.00
73,001 – 74,000 $518.00
74,001 – 75,000 $540.00
Over 75,000 $550.00

Source: Internal Revenue Service

What are the penalties for not making your HVUT payment?

Failure to pay heavy use tax could lead to costly penalties and more severe actions. The IRS can assess a penalty and charge interest on any late payments. The initial penalty for failing to pay heavy high way tax is 4.5% of the taxes due. An additional penalty of 0.5% can also be added to the amount owed and an interest rate of 0.54% for each month with an outstanding balance. The IRS can continue to charge a company who fails to make payment for 5 months before their registration is suspended. In addition to late fees, interest and suspension, incarceration is also a potential consequence for failing to make payment.

The heavy vehicle use tax is an important tax that helps fund road and highway construction and maintenance projects nationwide. If you own a heavy vehicle that operates on public highways, it is important to file the HVUT each year to avoid penalties and fines. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can file the HVUT correctly and on time.

Learn how to file for a fuel tax credit →

Topics: IFTA/Taxes
Kira Odlozil

Written by Kira Odlozil

Based in San Diego, CA, Kira Odlozil is the Digital Content Coordinator at P-Fleet. She writes about fuel management, the trucking industry and business-related topics. When Kira isn’t writing, she’s cooking up new recipes, doing yoga, traveling or all of the above.