Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Vehicle Identification Number

Explore the purpose and uses of Vehicle Identification Number + tips to correct a previously reported incorrect VIN.

A vehicle identification number is a subject of keen interest to many. This is especially true for businesses and self-employed individuals within the transportation and trucking industries, where a vehicle influences the operational aspects of the business. 

A vehicle identification number to a vehicle is what a social security number is to a citizen of the country – it’s a means of identity. 

And today, we’re about to delve into the origin of vehicle identification number, its purpose, uses, and how it impacts certain tax files. 

Additionally, you will find some useful resources and tips to correct a vehicle identification number, which you may have reported incorrectly in your previous files. 

So, let’s get to the good stuff. 

 What Is Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

 A vehicle identification number is a unique identification code assigned by the vehicle manufacturer in a standard format as authorized by the Automobile Manufacturers Association. This unique identification code consists of letters and numbers, which must not be used by another vehicle. 

Origin Of The Vehicle Identification Number

Before the VIN was standardized by the Automobile Manufacturers Association, there was no one standard for vehicle identification. In fact, the first VIN was introduced in 1954 after the U.S. government requested the U.S car manufacturers and Automobile Manufacturers Association to create a standardized vehicle identification code for security purposes.

Prior to this, the states used motor numbers to identify and track vehicles. However, this method was not reliable as the motor number would change if the motor was replaced or destroyed, leaving no means to recognize the vehicle. 

From 1954 to 1980, all vehicle identification numbers contained between 11-17 characters. However, in 1981, all vehicle identification numbers were standardized to 17 characters, making it easy for the authorities and buyers to verify the history of the vehicle.

What Is The Purpose Of Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

A VIN was standardized and streamlined to help everyone acknowledge the unique identity and existence of a vehicle. Be it a car, truck, van, motorcycle, or bus, every vehicle’s unique identity is recorded, stored, identified, and verified for security purposes. 

From a federal perspective, a VIN helps with:

  • Identifying the manufacturer of a vehicle
  • Validating and imposing a tax on each vehicle in a country
  • Collecting the tax from the current vehicle owner(s)
  • Identifying vehicles that were involved in anti-national activities 
  • Tracing the individuals who owned a vehicle involved in suspicious/unlawful activities 
  • Identifying vehicles and vehicle owners who were involved in serious traffic violations 
  • Identifying vehicles and vehicle owners who were involved  in crime scenes 

How To Read A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

A VIN can be read and interpret to understand the background of the vehicle.

First Character Of The VIN

The first character of the VIN can help you understand the geographical origin of the vehicle (the geographical location in which the vehicle was manufactured). The actual geographical area of the manufacturer may be different, but this is the primary location in which your vehicle was manufactured. 

Use the following table to understand the geographical origin of your vehicle.

  • A to H = Africa
  • J to R (except O and Q) = Asia
  • S to  Z = Europe
  • 1 to 5 = North America
  • 6 or 7 = New Zealand or Australia
  • 8 or 9 = South America

The Last 6 Characters

The last 6 characters of the VIN denote the serial number of the vehicle. These characters play a crucial role in making the VIN unique.

Similarly, each character holds a unique purpose to decode and interpret the origin of a vehicle. 

Luckily, we have vehicle history tracking tools like this, which help us view the complete history of the vehicle, right from the date of origin, manufacturer details, vehicle model, to NHTSA recalls and complaints. 

These details and reports help decode the background of the vehicle, allowing you to file more accurately. You can also Generate A Random VIN and conduct a VIN Check to see if the details match. Give it a try!

What Is Form 2290 VIN Correction?

Businesses within the transportation industry tend to own large fleets. It is essential for trucking businesses and owner-operator truckers to record and identify the vehicle identification numbers to file and pay HVUT taxes appropriately for the vehicles they own.

If filers report an incorrect VIN, the IRS requires them to correct the incorrect VIN previously reported, and file a 2290 VIN Correction to correct and report the VIN. 

For example, say that you are reporting HVUT taxes for 15 trucks with Form 2290. But the IRS rejects your files citing Incorrect VINs reported for some 5 vehicles, you must report the correct VINs by filing a 2290 VIN Correction. 

Alternatively, if, after submitting your 2290 forms, you may have realized that you have reported incorrect VINs for one or more vehicles, then you must wait until they get back to you, and then file a 2290 VIN Correction to report the correct VINs. 

Sending duplicate returns may work against you.

Tools & Tips To Correct Your VIN’s With 2290 VIN Correction  

Use the following tools and tips to correct your VINs and file your 2290 returns accurately. 

  • VIN Lookup/VIN Check 

VIN Lookup, or more commonly known as VIN Check, allows you to search and validate the VIN. You can search the VINs to get a little perspective about a vehicle. Apart from 2290 files, VIN Checks are also helpful when you’re about to make a new purchase.  

  • VIN Decoder 

Similar to VIN Lookup, VIN Decoding tools like this help you decode your vehicle identification number, allowing you to gather more information about your vehicles, such as their size, weight, measurements, mileage history, and much more. This information is crucial when filing your form 2290 VIN Corrections.  

  • VIN Audit

If you’re a fleet owner, you must know by now that the filing season is one of the most stressful times of the year. However, a VIN Audit provides comprehensive reports about your vehicles from a verified VIN Auditor.  This further helps reduce inaccurate reports, enabling you to achieve compliance.

When Should I File a VIN Correction?

The IRS may accept or reject your 2290 returns. If the IRS rejects your returns, it will also cite the issue with a deadline (before which you must correct and resubmit your returns). If not complied with, the IRS will exercise its power to impose penalties. 

If the IRS cites incorrect VINs and rejects your 2290 returns, it’s time for you to pay attention to your VINs and file with Form 2290 VIN Correction

It is important to understand that 2290 VIN Correction is not a separate form. However, it must be filed separately by electing the ‘VIN Correction’ option as seen in the figure below. 

HVUT Form 2290
HVUT Form 2290

Correcting your VINs may seem complicated if you do not have a tax professional by your side. This is why EZ2290 offers free VIN Correction services to EZ2290 users.

Free VIN Corrections For EZ2290 Users

With this free service, you can select a previous filing in which the VINs were reported incorrectly, and re-file with the corrected VINs in just a few minutes. 

Further, our tax team is available to provide you the necessary support to ensure the accuracy of reports and help you file the 2290 VIN Correction with the corrected VINs to the IRS. 

How Do I File a VIN Correction With EZ2290?

Follow the steps below to easily file a VIN correction with EZ2290.  

  • Step 1: Sign up here for free or log into your account 
  • Step 2:  Go to your EZ2290 dashboard, and select the IRS-rejected files 
  • Step 3: Elect ‘VIN Correction’ on the 2290 return, and furnish the required vehicle information
  • Step 4: Review and validate your corrected returns
  • Step 5: Submit to the IRS 

Once the IRS accepts your submission, you will receive the IRS-Stamped Schedule 1 instantly. This digital version of the Schedule 1 must be saved for documentation and authorization purposes. 

Something as simple and small as a vehicle identification number holds the power to get your 2290 returns accepted or rejected by the IRS. 

This is why; many tax advisors, tax specialists, and even the IRS encourage filers (businesses and self-employed individuals alike) to review their reports thoroughly before they file them.

IRS Now Accepting the Form 2290 for 2024-25

Get Stamped Schedule-1 in Minutes!

Wait! Don't Hit the Brakes on Filing Your 2290 Form!

Here are 5 reasons to eFile with EZ2290: