What is the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax?

What is the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax?

You may know you have to pay it, but do you know what the heavy highway vehicle use tax, paid via IRS form 2290, is for? And what are the weight requirements before you need to file tax form 2290?

The heavy vehicle use tax, or HVUT, helps pay for highway maintenance by contributing to the Highway Trust Fund. The Highway Trust Fund, or HTF, reimburses states for maintenance projects that keep highways driveable. Because of the weight of large vehicles, they put more stress on the roadways. Thus the need to collect revenue in the form of the heavy vehicle road use tax that can be used to maintain the highways.

The IRS collects this revenue via form 2290. They require all filers with more than 25 trucks to file electronically. In addition, the IRS encourages all filers to file electronically.

Who pays the tax?
Any owner of a vehicle weighing more than 55,000 pounds must file form 2290 to pay the heavy vehicle road use tax. The tax amount varies from $100 to $550, based on the gross weight of the vehicle. Based on the regulations, you can determine the gross taxable weight of the vehicle by adding together:

  • The actual unloaded weight of the vehicle fully equipped for service.
  • The actual unloaded weight of any trailers or semitrailers fully equipped for service   customarily used in combination with the vehicle.
  • The weight of the maximum load customarily carried on the vehicle and on any trailers or semitrailers customarily used in combination with the vehicle.

Once you know the weight, the calculation to determine your tax starts with $100 at 55,000 pounds. For each 1,000 additional pounds, add $22 of tax. The taxable weight caps at 75,000 pounds, meaning the most you’d pay in tax is $550.

If the weight of the vehicle you drive, or the load you pull, goes up during the year, you file an amended heavy vehicle highway use tax form 2290. There are also a few exemptions and exceptions to check before you file and pay the tax. The tax is due annually, payable in the first month after you use the vehicle on the highways. If you are not driving your truck during a particular year, you won’t owe the tax. That’s why they call it a heavy vehicle road use tax, after all.

Bottom Line
As everyone pays their tax, the funds accumulate in the Highway Tax Fund. The HTF disperses the funds to states, which use the funds to build and maintain roads. So when you pay your heavy vehicle road use tax, don’t forget that you are helping to pay for the roads you and your fellow drivers will be using.

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