What is HVUT?
The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, or HVUT as it is commonly referred to as, is the fee imposed by the IRS annually on heavy vehicles that operate on public highways at registered gross weights equal to or exceeding 55,000 pounds.
The taxable gross weight of a vehicle is determined by adding the following:
- The actual unloaded weight of the vehicle, when it is fully equipped for service
- The actual unloaded weight of any trailers or semitrailers fully equipped for service normally used in addition to the vehicle
- The weight of the maximum load that can be carried on the vehicle and on any trailers or semitrailers typically used with the vehicle
- For Buses, The taxable gross weight is its actual unloaded weight fully equipped for service in addition to 150 pounds for each seat provided for passengers and driver.
The Tax Calculations:
The tax year for Form 2290 starts in July and ends in June of the next year. If the gross taxable weight is from 55,000 to 75,000 pounds, the HVUT is $100, plus $22 per thousand pounds over 55,000 pounds. For over 75,000 pound vehicles, the maximum HVUT is $550/ year. The taxes are lower for logging vehicles. Logging Vehicles are vehicles which are primarily used for transporting products harvested from the forest and is registered with a state agency as such.
Taxes are prorated for any vehicles placed into service after the month of July.
There are a number of groups that receive exemptions from HVUT. Such as:
- Federal Government
- State & Local governments, including the District of Columbia
- The American Red Cross
- Nonprofit volunteer fire departments, ambulance associations or rescue squads
- Indian tribal governments (for vehicles used in essential tribal functions)
- Mass transportation authorities
There are also a number of vehicles exempted from the HVUT:
- Any vehicle not considered to be a highway motor vehicle — e.g., mobile machinery for non-transportation functions, vehicles specifically designed for off-highway use, and non-transportation trailers and semi-trailers
- Qualified blood collecting vehicles used by qualified blood collector organizations
- Mobile machinery that is used for non-transportation purposes
Exempt carriers may be required to file tax forms with the IRS or notify the local department of motor vehicles (DMV) of their exempt status
There are other vehicles that are exempt based on the number of miles it is driven:
The above vehicles are called Suspended Vehicles, but must be reported to the IRS.
What is the Purpose of HVUT?
The HVUT is a significant source of transportation funding in the U.S. In 2006 alone, the HVUT generated more than $1.4 Billion in Federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) revenue.
The Federal HTF protects America’s investment in its transportation infrastructure. In 2007 alone, Federal HTF receipts were $39.9 Billion, with $34.9 Billion dedicated to the HTF’s Highway Account. The Federal HTF finances a wide spectrum of transportation investments which include:
- Highway improvements (e.g., land acquisition, other right-of-way costs, preliminary and construction engineering, construction and reconstruction, resurfacing and restoration costs of roadways and bridges)
- Highway and bridge maintenance
- Highway law enforcement
- Safety programs (e.g., driver education and training, vehicle inspection programs, enforcement of vehicle size and weight limits)
- Congestion relief projects
- Administrative costs (e.g., research, engineering)
Investment in our nation’s highway infrastructure helps:
- Save money, time, & lives
- Reduce the amount and severity of crashes for all kinds of vehicles
- Enhance the ability of emergency responders
- Lower fuel and insurance costs
- Decrease energy consumption
- Ease congestion
- Boost air quality
- Increase mobility
- Improve the efficiency of the movement of goods
- Raise business productivity
- Strengthen the nation’s economic productivity
Since the vast majority of all funds contributed by states to the Federal HTF are returned through highway improvements, this is a direct incentive for state agencies to take necessary measures to enhance HVUT compliance.