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The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax

What Can Be Done to Enhance HVUT Revenues?

photo collage of semi trucks, close up of IRS form 2290, and fire truck going down roadway.

The heavy vehicle use tax or HVUT is a fee assessed annually on heavy vehicles operating on public highways at registered gross weights equal to or exceeding 55,000 pounds. The gross taxable weight of a vehicle is determined by adding the unloaded weight of the motor vehicle and any trailers together with the maximum load customarily carried on-road by the truck–trailer combination. The maximum HVUT is $550 per year.

Gross Taxable Weight Heavy Vehicle Use Tax Rates
Below 55,000lbs No tax
55,000 – 75,000lbs $100 plus $22 per 1,000 pounds over 55,000lbs
Over 75,000lbs $550

The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax and Who Pays It

IRS Form 2290 is used when paying the HVUT. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is responsible for collecting the tax, so all payments are made to the IRS. Payments made in 2007 cover the period from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008. For new vehicles, IRS Form 2290 must be filed by the last day of the month following the month of first use.

Once the carrier has paid the tax, proof of payment must be submitted with their registration renewal to relevant state authorities. Proof of payment may generally be provided either in the form of a receipted and stamped Schedule 1 from IRS Form 2290 or a copy of a completed IRS Form 2290 with a front and back copy of the cancelled check used to make the payment.

For large carriers with 25 or more vehicles, electronic filing is accomplished using a credit card or other means of electronic payment. When presenting proof of payment, the taxpayer must have the original electronic receipt or a copy of the receipt and a credit card or other bank statement showing evidence of the transaction.

Group Exempted from the HVUT

There are a number of groups that receive exemptions from the HVUT, including:

  • The Federal Government
  • State or local governments, including the District of Columbia
  • The American Red Cross
  • Nonprofit volunteer fire departments, ambulance associations or rescue squads
  • Indian tribal governments (for vehicles used in essential tribal government functions)
  • Mass transportation authorities (under certain conditions)

Vehicles Exempted from the HVUT

  • Commercial vehicles traveling fewer than 5,000 miles annually
  • Agriculture vehicles traveling fewer than 7,500 miles annually
  • Vehicles not considered highway motor vehicles – e.g., mobile machinery for non-transportation functions, vehicles specifically designed for off highway transportation, and non-transportation trailers and semi-trailers
  • Qualified blood collector vehicles used by qualified blood collector organizations

Exempt carriers may be required to file tax forms with the IRS or notify the local department of motor vehicles of the exempt status being claimed.

Page last modified on November 7, 2014.
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