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2290 Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax What is It? How Much is It? and Who Needs to Pay?

Suzanne Roquemore

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The 2290 Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax is a $550 federal excise tax that must be paid on all vehicles that weigh 55,000 lbs or more and operate on public highways. The reporting period is from July 1st in any given year to June 30 the next year. The tax bill that is currently due is for the reporting period of July 1st, 2008, through June 30, 2009. If the vehicle will not put on more than 5,000 miles in the coming year (or, if it is agricultural, if it won't put on more than 7,500 miles in the year), the $550 payment isn't required, but you still must file form 2290.

Unless you are a new owner operator, you should have received form 2990 in the mail. You'll need to read through the instructions, fill out the form, and mail it in by August 31st with payment.

If you bought a truck before July, 2008, you need to be sure the 2290 was paid for the months you were driving it prior to July. Trust us, the IRS will find out if the tax wasn't paid and they will require you to pay the owed tax, plus penalties and interest.

You will need:
Your VIN (vehicle identification number), your EIN (employer identification number). The IRS does not accept your social security number for identification purposes on form 2290.

Who must file?
Whether you are leasing or buying a truck, you are responsible for filing and paying the 2290 Heavy Use Tax. If the vehicle is registered to you, you'd better be sure the tax is taken care of! If you bought a used truck, you are only required to pay the tax for the time period after you took possession of the truck- the former owner is required to pay the tax for the months prior to selling it to you. If, however, the former owner didn't pay, the IRS expects you to pay the full amount owed.

When to file:
If you used the truck during July, 2008, then the tax is due August 31st. If you didn't use the truck until August, 2008, then the tax is due September 30th. And so on. The tax is due the last day of the month after the truck hits the road. If the truck is not in use for the full tax period, you will not have to pay the full $550. Page 10 of the 2290 Instructions shows a sliding payment schedule.

Amount to pay:
Amounts shown are for trucks with a taxable gross weight of 75,000 or more that are not classified as logging vehicles. If you will use the truck for the full 12 months, you will pay $550. If the truck is was used starting July, 2008, you must pay the full $550. If you will be selling the truck or will, for whatever reason, not have the truck in use for the full tax period, you still have to pay the $550, but you can request a refund. It used to be that once you paid your 2290 for the coming year, your money was gone. If you sold the truck, you were still out the $550, and, if you didn't provide the buyer with proof of the 2290 being paid, the buyer would have to file and pay a pro-rated 2290. One recent change to the 2290, is that if you sell your truck or if it is destroyed or stolen (unless it is recoverd and put back into use during the tax period), you can file for a tax credit. You can't claim a higher credit than what you paid when you filed the form. If you wish to file for a credit, you must fill out form 8849 (Claim for Refund on Excise Taxes) and Schedule 6 (Other Claims).

The amount you must pay is as follows:
If the truck was first in use in July, 2008: $550 due August 31.
If the truck was first in use in August, 2008: $504.17 due September 30.
If the truck will first be in use in September, 2008: $458.33 due October 31.
If the truck will first be in use in October, 2008: $412.50 due November 30.
If the truck will first be in use in November, 2008: $366.67 due December 31.
If the truck will first be in use in December, 2008: $320.83 due January 31.
If the truck will first be in use in January, 2009: $275.00 due February 29.
If the truck will first be in use in February, 2009: $229.17 due March 31.
If the truck will first be in use in March, 2009: $183.33 due April 30.
If the truck will first be in use in April, 2009: $137.50 due May 31.
If the truck will first be in use in May, 2009: $91.67 due June 30.
If the truck will first be in use in June, 2009: $45.83 due July 31.
After that, you will be in the 2009 2290 tax reporting period.

Things to remember:
If you file by mail, make copies of the form and the check you send to keep for your records.
You will need to have proof of 2290 payment in order to keep your truck registration current.

If you need help filling out the form, you can call the IRS 2290 Call Site toll free from the US at 866-699-4096. From Canada or Mexico, call 859-669-5733 (not a free call). You can also stop in at your local IRS office for assistance.

Form 2290
Instructions for Form 2290 is the only comprehensive online resource for over 1100 truck weigh stations and scales as well as state DOT weight regulations and policies. Knowledge of the varying policies and the ability to manage or avoid most weigh stations can save truckers thousands of dollars in ticket fines.


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