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Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return: Have You Filed?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Trucking American Government

Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return: Have You Filed?

James Druman
January 3, 2010

James Druman

Have you filed your heavy highway vehicle use tax return? A lot of businesses use the roads a lot more than others. For instance, big trucks that transport goods from coast to coast are constantly on the road, adding to deterioration and sometimes chaotic road conditions.

The money to keep our roads running needs to come from somewhere, and a lot of the money comes from taxes. One such tax is the Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax, a tax paid by owners of commercial vehicles that weight more than 55,000 pounds or more.

The money is passed along to help states maintain and build new roads across the nation—as well as a variety of other purposes that benefit our highway systems.


Not everyone operating a large vehicle has to pay the tax. Vehicles that don't spend much time on the road, heavy machinery not meant for the highways, and vehicles used for government purposes are all exempt.

Emergency vehicles for volunteer organizations, such as volunteer fire departments, do not have to pay either, and even certified blood collection organizations are in the clear.

But it is important to know that you can even be penalized for not filing even if you are exempt, so be sure that you know what you're doing before just deciding you're exempt.

The Process

To pay the tax, you have to file the form 2290 with Internal Revenue Service. The payment has to made in total each time; you can't just pay a partial payment.

Once you've made your payment, it is a good idea to keep your form available and in your truck because authorities may often ask to see proof that you have paid your fee.

Where to Pay

Before, the heavy highway vehicle use tax return could only be filed at the local office or by United States Post. You had to go into an office and pick up the form, or you could go online and download it yourself, but after you filled it out, you had to drop it off with a payment or mail it in.

And filing through snail mail, on the other hand, took way too long, leaving you without proof and thus unable to obtain insurance or lease on a truck.


But ever since August of 2007, it has become possible to file online, which of course is far more convenient than filing in person and eliminates the long process of doing it through post.

Now, instead of going out of your way to sit in an office and wait in line to file the paperwork, you can eliminate the entire nuisance and make it automatic from your office or home.

You'll still need to have your proof of payment, but on the internet it can be downloaded and printed out within less than an hour.

Never Avoid Responsibility

Don't ever miss a payment or, even worse, fail to even file your heavy highway vehicle use tax return. Late fees will be charged, and if there is suspicion that you are avoiding your tax, you can be prosecuted and subjected to fines, incarceration, or home detention.

That's just one more reason to stay up to date on your obligation to keep the nation's roads running smoothly so we can all get business done in an efficient and timely manner. To learn more about filing the heavy highway vehicle use tax return electronically, go to http://www.YourTruckTax.com .

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