Trucking companies and owner-operators must pay a federal excise tax annually on road tractors. The tax is assessed on highway vehicles that weigh over 55,000 pounds, so larger buses are taxed also. Anyone responsible for reporting and paying the tax can benefit from learning more about IRS Form 2290.
Although the excise tax is assessed on most over-the-road vehicles weighing over 55,000 pounds, exemptions are allowed, including one for vehicles driven less than 5,000 miles annually. In the case of a road tractor, the threshold of 55,000 pounds includes more than just the truck itself.
The tax is assessed on the full weight that a truck is capable of transporting on public highways. In addition to the weight of the tractor, the weight of a typical trailer and its contents is also included. The combined weight of the truck, the trailer, and its typical full load determines the amount of your tax.
For vehicles over the weight threshold of 55,000 pounds, the tax ranges from $100 to $550. Above the $100 threshold, the tax increases $22 for each additional 1,000 pounds. The tax tops out at $550 for vehicles weighing over 75,000 pounds. Form 2290 includes a chart that can be used to calculate the tax.
The tax rates for logging trucks are slightly lower than for other heavy vehicles. The Form 2290 chart includes separate tax calculations for logging trucks. Form 2290 also accommodates changes in the usage of heavy vehicles from year to year.
The reporting period for Form 2290 is July 1 to June 30. The return is due by the end of the next month following the month of earliest use during the reporting period. The tax is calculated and paid for the remaining number of months in the reporting period.
For various reasons, a heavy vehicle may be removed from service before the end of the reporting period. Your total mileage may be less than originally expected. A credit is allowed on your next Form 2290 if your current mileage turns out to be less than 5,000 miles or if a truck is sold, wrecked, or stolen before the end of the reporting period.
Form 2290 includes a supporting form titled Schedule 1. Form 2290 actually includes two copies of Schedule 1, because the IRS sends one back to you marked as paid. A Schedule 1 receipt is required by most states in order to register a heavy highway vehicle, so electronic filing may allow you to complete that process sooner.
Accurate filing of the heavy vehicle use tax is essential to keeping trucks and larger buses on schedule. Contact a tax preparer for further information about the unique tax requirements of heavy vehicles.