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Your Options for Filing Tax Form 2290: The Heavy Highway Use Tax

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Trucking American Government

Your Options for Filing Tax Form 2290: The Heavy Highway Use Tax

James Druman
January 6, 2010

James Druman

For those of you who are involved in the trucking industry, you're probably no stranger to the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, but others out there are just getting started and want to be sure they are meeting obligations. Even the veterans of the industry may not catch all the changes as they come. So I want to go over the different ways to file tax form 2290 to give everyone a basic idea of what's going on.

What is It?

For those of you really trying to get a glimpse of what it means to be a trucker, the Heavy Vehicle Tax is a tax that the government requires be paid by the professional men and women who use large machines to do business on our streets and highways.

In theory, it is paid by anyone running a rig that weighs at least 55,000 pounds, including trailers and a typical full load.

You May Be Exempt

Some of you out there, however, may be exempt. For instance, commercial vehicles that travel less than 5,500 miles on an annual basis are not required to pay. And the same goes for agriculture rigs that don't travel any more than 7,500.

There are also exemptions for other vehicles, including Red Cross, bloodmobiles, government vehicles, volunteer rescue services, and more. But in most cases, even if you're not responsible for paying the fee, you're still responsible for at least filing Tax Form 2290 to show you are free of the obligation.

Paying in Person

The most common way, at least before recent industry innovations, to pay the highway use tax is to drive in to the office of IRS in your city or town and turn the paperwork in.

To make this a little more convenient, you can go online and download the form first. That way, by the time you show up to the office, it's already filled out and ready to go. If you don't have Internet, however, they have the forms on hand in the office.

But for a lot of drivers this is a ridiculous amount of effort for such a small amount of cash. They have to put a whole stop to their day, or if they have a drive planned maybe take the whole day off, just to go turn in one piece of paper.

Paying By Mail

Which is why the Internal Revenue Service offers the option of mailing the form in with a check or money order. Once again, just download it from the web and print it out.

Send it in to the IRS and after a week or two you get a receipt in the mail as well as stamped proof that you've paid, which you need to carry on you at all times in your vehicle because authorities will often ask to see it. And it's required for certain activities, such as leasing vehicles or purchasing insurance.

This brings up the obvious reason why paying by mail isn't always such a great option. Waiting a week or two for that paperwork means a week or two of not having that stamped proof in your truck.

This means if someone asks for it you can really get scrutinized closer than is efficient if you're on your way with a load, and it's really detrimental if you need to apply for insurance.

Paying by Internet

Just since 2007, the IRS has been offering the option of e-filing the Form 2290. Companies on the Internet have received approval for the IRS to file the paperwork for you, allowing truckers to stick with the business of trucking instead of running all around town to file paperwork.

After you pay your fee, you can print out your proof and stash it in you glove box—no waiting for it to come in the mail. While some people may not have easy access to the web, for those who do it is no question that this is the most efficient option for paying tax form 2290.

And convenience is really what a trucker needs to make the demands of the industry just a little less daunting. Go learn more about tax form 2290 and the e-filing system at http://www.YourTruckTax.com .

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