What Every Truck Driver Should Know About The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax


heavy vehicle use tax

Every year, truck drivers across the country pay the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT). But what exactly is the HVUT, and how does it work?

We answer these questions and more in our detailed look at highway use tax. Read on to learn more about what every truck driver should know before paying their HVUT.

What is Heavy Vehicle Use Tax?

The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax is an IRS tax based on the weight of your vehicle. It specifies that if you have a vehicle with a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more and you drive it on public roadways, you must pay the HVUT. This is done by filing Form 2290 annually.

But what’s the point of highway use tax anyway? Essentially, it’s a way for owner-operators to pay a bit more for the upkeep of the national highway system. It evens the playing field since heavy trucks add more wear and tear to the roadways than other vehicles.

Calculating Heavy Vehicle Use Tax 

To calculate your HVUT, you must first determine your taxable gross weight.

What is Taxable Gross Weight?

Your taxable gross weight is the combination of:

  • 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

Taxable gross weight categories

The HVUT varies based on your 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. 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).

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

A breakdown of tax rates

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

Penalties for non-compliance 

If you miss filing Form 2290 and making your HVUT payment on time, 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%.

Tax Compliance for Heavy Vehicle Use Tax

To avoid IRS penalties, file Form 2290 and pay your taxes on time. You can do this by either e-filing or mailing Form 2290.

When to file Form 2290

The deadline to file Form 2290 and pay your HVUT is the last day of the month following the “first used month” of the vehicle. (For example, if you get a new truck in December and put it on the road, you must file your 2290 tax form by January 31st).

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

How to e-file Form 2290

E-filing is the easiest way to pay your HVUT. It’s also the only method the IRS will allow if you’re filing 2290 forms for more than 24 vehicles.

When you e-file, your return will be processed quickly, 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.

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

How to paper file Form 2290

If you paper file your Form 2290, you’ll need to print the return, fill it out, and mail it to the IRS, along with your check. This usually takes the IRS four to six weeks to accept your return.

If you’re sending Form 2290 with a full payment that is not drawn from an international financial institution, mail it to the Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 932500, Louisville, KY 40293-2500.

Amendments and Corrections to Form 2290

Form 2290 amendments should be filed when the information for the filed vehicle changes in these three ways:

  • There’s an increase in taxable gross weight
  • The mileage use has exceeded its limit
  • The VIN is incorrect

With ExpressTruckTax, we make it easy to file your 2290 amendments by accurately calculating the taxes due to the IRS so that you can get your updated Schedule 1 within minutes.

ExpressTruckTax can quickly file the increase in taxable gross weight and report the tax due for vehicles that exceed the mileage use limit. We also offer free VIN corrections to anyone who filed their original 2290 with us. Get started today with ExpressTruckTax.

Related Questions

Q: How does HVUT work? 

A: The HVUT is an IRS tax that’s based on the weight of your vehicle. It’s paid by filing Form 2290 each year.

Q: What is the minimum weight requirement for HVUT?

A: If you have a vehicle with a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more and you drive it on public roadways, you must pay the HVUT.

Q: Is HVUT the same as IFTA? 

A: No, the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is separate and is not related to HVUT and Form 2290. 

Q: What happens if I don’t pay HVUT? 

A: If you miss the deadline to file your Form 2290 returns or don’t pay your HVUT taxes, you could face significant IRS penalties and interest charges.

Q: Who is exempt from paying HVUT? 

A: Vehicles exempt from paying the HVUT include commercial vehicles that drive fewer than 5,000 miles a year, agricultural vehicles that drive fewer than 7,500 miles a year, vehicles not considered highway motor vehicles, and vehicles used for the collection of blood.

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