All Trucks are Not “Heavy Trucks”

A major question that truck owners/operators tend to ask themselves is whether or not their truck would be considered a “heavy vehicle” that needs Form 2290 filing. It is definitely a warranted concern because the Internal Revenue Service has its own expectations of what exactly a heavy vehicle is and those trucks that do not qualify are exempt from filing the annual Form 2290 and paying the heavy vehicle use tax (HVUT).

Now, the question that arises next is “what exactly does the IRS consider a heavy vehicle.” The IRS considers any self-propelled vehicle designed to carry a load over public highways, whether or not also designed to perform other functions, and weighs a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more as a heavy vehicle that qualifies for the heavy vehicle use tax. This means that vehicles that have been DMV-approved to carry a load that causes the entire vehicle to weigh 55,000 pounds or more as taxable. If the DMV approves a vehicle to carry anything less than 55,000 pounds then that vehicle is exempt from IRS Form 2290.

The next question is often, “upon what conditions is tax payment contingent on?” This concerns the mileage and usage of a particular vehicle. Mileage is definitely a factor affecting whether or not a vehicle must be filed for or not. The IRS has stated that vehicles used to transport goods that consume 5,000 miles or less a year and vehicles used for logging that consume 7,500 miles or less are exempt from paying the heavy vehicle use tax. There are many different uses for a freight truck, whether it be to transport a company’s goods, transport documents for the government, or simply for logging/construction use. The IRS exempts vehicles used for government purposes, Indian Tribal government purposes, the American Red Cross, and nonprofit volunteer fire or ambulance squads. This means that the aforementioned vehicles can be used throughout the year, no matter their weight or mileage, and are exempt from filing Form 2290.

These are the different questions that are asked by truck owners/operators regarding the heavy vehicle use tax. Depending on weight, use, and mileage, certain vehicles can be discounted or even exempt from the heavy vehicle use taxes.

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