The Ultimate Guide to Filing 2290 Forms


Form 2290 is an IRS federal form used to calculate and report Heavy Vehicle Use Taxes (HVUT) every year. The money from this tax is then distributed back into the states for highway maintenance.

But who needs to file 2290 forms? And what’s the easiest way to do it? Online? In the mail? For answers to these questions and more, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to filing your 2290 forms.

Who Needs to File the 2290 Form?

If you have a vehicle with a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more and are using it on public roads, you must file Form 2290.

For example, trucks, truck tractors, and buses designed to carry a load over public highways will have to file 2290 forms. However, smaller trucks, like vans, pickup trucks, and panel trucks likely will not have to file a Form 2290.

How is Form 2290 enforced? 

You have to file your 2290 forms to get back a stamped Schedule 1. This paper is what you need to renew your tags. If you are leased with a company, they’ll also want to see that you have a stamped Schedule 1.

Pro tip: Keep a copy of your stamped Schedule 1 in the cab of your truck in case you get pulled over or need to show it to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

What is the HVUT & Why is it Important?

The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax is an annual truck tax that the IRS imposes based on the weight of your vehicle. It is a significant part of funding the upkeep of roadways in the U.S. Since heavy trucks add more wear and tear to the nation’s highways than other motorists, the HVUT evens the playing field. Owner-operators of heavy vehicles pay a little more for the upkeep of the national highway system through the HVUT.

Who has to pay the HVUT?

You must pay the HVUT if:

  • The vehicle is registered in your name
  • Your vehicle has a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more
  • Your vehicle is being used on public roadways/highways

What is the taxable gross weight of a vehicle?

The taxable gross weight of a vehicle is determined by adding these three things:

  • The actual unloaded weight of your motor vehicle fully equipped for service
  • The actual unloaded weight of trailers or semi-trailers fully equipped for service that are typically used with the vehicle
  • The weight of the maximum load typically carried on the vehicle and on the trailers or semi-trailers

What does ‘actual unloaded weight’ mean? 

The actual unloaded weight of a truck is simply the empty weight of the vehicle. If your truck is equipped to tow a trailer or a semi-trailer, the weight will be the truck and trailer combined.

What does ‘fully equipped for service’ mean? 

To add the weight of a truck fully equipped for service, you will include the body of the vehicle, all accessories, and the equipment attached to or carried by the truck. You’ll also include the truck’s entire supply of fuel, oil, and water.

However, fully equipped for service does not include the driver or the equipment used in handling, protecting, or preserving cargo. It also does not count any special equipment like an air compressor or crane.

How to calculate and make HVUT payments 

The HVUT varies based on the taxable gross weight category. For example, the HVUT payment for a vehicle with a gross weight between 55,000 to 75,000 pounds is $100. And, if your truck is over 55,000 pounds, you’ll need to add $22 for every 1,000 pounds that your vehicle weighs (with a cap at 75,000 pounds).

So, if you have a truck that weighs 60,000 pounds, your HVUT payment would be $210 ($100 + $22 x 5).

However, if your vehicle has a gross weight of over 75,000 pounds, the maximum HVUT payment you’ll make is $550.

HVUT Payment Breakdown

Vehicles below 55,000 poundsNo tax
Vehicles 55,000 pounds$100
Vehicles over 75,000 pounds$550
Vehicles between 55,000 and 75,000 pounds$100 plus $22 for every1,000 pounds over 55,000

When Should You File the 2290 Form?

Form 2290 is an annual truck tax that you will have to file every year. The deadline to file is the last day of the month following the “first used month” of the vehicle. This means you have a two-month window to file for all of your trucks over 55,000 pounds.

For example, if you get a new truck in December and put it on the road, you must file your 2290 tax form by Jan. 31. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, you will file by the next business day.

However, if you’re continuing to operate your truck on public highways, you’ll file following the fiscal year. Since the tax year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30, the deadline to file Form 2290 for most truckers is August 31.

How to File the 2290 Form

You can either e-file or mail your 2290 forms. No matter which method you choose, you’ll need to gather the following information:

  • Your Employee Identification Number (EIN
  • Your name  – this must match the name on your EIN
  • The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of each vehicle
  • The taxable gross weight of each vehicle 

Note: If you don’t have an EIN, you need to apply for one since you can’t use your social security number to file Form 2290. Keep in mind that you’ll need to allow four weeks for your new EIN to be established in the system before filing your 2290 forms.

How to e-file Form 2290

E-filing is the most common and easiest way to file your Form 2290. It’s also the only method the IRS will allow if you’re filing for more than 24 vehicles.

Not to mention that when you e-file, your return will be processed quickly. This means you’ll get your stamped Schedule 1 in a matter of minutes. And you’ll get your refund faster, usually within three weeks of the IRS receiving your tax return (even sooner if you have your refund directly deposited into your banking account).

To e-file Form 2290, you’ll need to do the following:

What are the Penalties for Non-Compliance?

If you miss the deadline to file your Form 2290 returns or pay your HVUT taxes, you could be hit with significant IRS penalties and interest charges.

For example, if you fail to file your Form 2290 returns by the due date, you could be penalized 4.5% of the total HVUT taxes due — this penalty can accrue for up to five months. 

If you fail to pay the full amount of HVUT taxes due, you could also face a penalty of 0.5% of the unpaid tax per month, with a maximum penalty of 25%.

So if your unpaid HVUT liability was originally $500, it would increase to over $700 by the end of the five-month period.

Not only do these penalties quickly add up, but the registrations of your vehicles will also be suspended. And, in a worst-case scenario, the IRS could seize your assets to make up for your tax debt.

How to claim tax exemptions

There are several vehicles exempt from paying the HVUT. These vehicles include the following:

  • Commercial vehicles (including suspended vehicles) that clock fewer than 5,000 miles for the year
  • Agricultural vehicles that drive fewer than 7,500 miles for the year
  • Vehicles that are not considered highway motor vehicles (i.e. vehicles specifically for off-highway transportation)
  • Vehicles used for the collection of blood

Not sure whether you’re exempt from paying the HVUT? Our support team at ExpressTruckTax can answer any questions you have about filing Form 2290. As the market-leading e-file provider for Form 2290, we ensure you have all the information you need to file your return on time. In fact, with ExpressTruckTax, you can file your Form 2290 return instantly with the IRS and get your stamped Schedule 1 in minutes.

Related Questions

Q: How do I file Form 2290 online? 

A: The only way to file Form 2290 online is through an IRS-approved e-file provider, like ExpressTruckTax. You cannot file Form 2290 on irs.gov.

Q: When is the deadline to file Form 2290? 

A: The deadline to file Form 2290 is the last day of the month following the “first used month” of the vehicle. If you have been operating your vehicle throughout the fiscal year, your deadline will likely be Aug. 31.

Q: What is the penalty for late filing Form 2290?

A: If you are late to file Form 2290, you could be penalized 4.5% of the total HVUT taxes due for up to five months. If you fail to pay the full amount of the HVUT payments you owe, you could also face a penalty of 0.5% of the unpaid tax per month (maxed at 25%).

Q: Can I make HVUT payments with a credit card? 

A: You can pay your taxes by credit card or debit card, via an electronic funds withdrawal, or through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).

Q: How do I claim a tax exemption for my logging truck?

A: You must file Form 2290 through an approved e-file provider to claim a tax exemption for your logging truck.

Q: What is the difference between Form 2290 and Form 8849? 

A: Form 2290 is for reporting and paying your HVUT. It must be filed every year by Aug. 31. Form 8849, on the other hand, is for claiming a refund or credit for HVUT that was overpaid or paid for a vehicle sold or destroyed before June 30. It can be filed at any time during the tax year.

Q: Can I amend my Form 2290 after filing it? 

A: An amendment to Form 2290 should be made for the following vehicle changes: an increase in taxable gross weight, mileage use limit exceeded, and an incorrect VIN.

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