Avoiding the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax: Is it Really Worth the Trouble?
December 26, 2009
The HVUT, or Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, is an annual tax paid by truck drivers or owners of trucking companies. It applies to drivers operating large vehicles on our nation?s highway, and a lot of the money goes towards maintaining roads, alleviating congestion, keeping the roads safe, and funding new projects.
But for many truck drivers who see themselves as the backbone of the American economic system, being taxed extra for the services they provide seems unfair and unproductive. Thus, many go out of their way to avoid the heavy highway use tax.
But is it really worth it?
There are many businesses and individuals out there doing what they can to avoid paying the HVUT. Some will lie about the weight of their vehicle or even register a vehicle as exempt when it is anything but exempt.
Others will fudge the numbers on their driving miles?because commercial vehicles that have driven less than 5,000 miles over the year or agricultural vehicles that have traveled less than 7,500 miles do not have to pay the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax.
Others will simply fail to remit, lie or forge on the IRS documents. And then there are those with the audacity to resort to bribery.
The Government is Watching
But the IRS and the FHWA do a lot to keep up with these efforts to cheat the U.S. government out of money. The want to make sure they get their cut, but they also make sure willing taxpayer?s are not taking up an unfair burden for other members of society who don?t want to pay.
They take special classes in order to go over the latest evasion techniques and collaborate together to find ways to catch these tactics during compliance reviews.
Some people might still get away with it, but if you get caught avoiding the filing of the IRS Form 2290, you can be charged 4.5% of the owed amount, and even just filing past the deadline can mean paying 0.5 percent of the balance in late fees.
Not to mention you will owe interest on 0.54% per month!
The states can take action as well and may very well suspend the paperwork on registered vehicles that have not paid the tax, which can, of course, be very expensive for someone who depends on their vehicle to pull in profit.
But the risk doesn?t stop with mere financial penalization. Punishment can even add up to being thrown in jail and being forced to pay fines to the federal government if evasion is blatantly crooked.
Owners of trucking companies have been known to receive prison sentences, home confinement, and large fines beyond what they pay for simply being late. Even states can be punished for not complying with regulation?they can lose up to 25% of the funding for their interstate maintenance.
The Bottom Line
And when you really look at the reasoning behind this tax, it is a fair tax. The trucking industry may very well provide the backbone of the American economy, but they do take a heavy toll on the roads, and if it weren?t for taxes like this there would be no money to keep our roads maintained, safe, and free of congestion.
In short, without the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, it would be a lot less likely that making a living on the nation?s highways would even be a possibility.
To find out more about filing your Form 2290 electronically, which makes your obligation that much easier to meet, go to http://www.YourTruckTax.com .
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