If you are required by law to register a highway motor vehicle with a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more, that means becoming familiar with Form 2290. Most filers of this form will be corporate or business entities of some sort, as few individuals own these sorts of vehicles. Form 2290 is used to:
- Figure and pay the tax on vehicles used during the tax year with a taxable weight of 55,000 pounds or more.
- Figure and pay tax due on a vehicle for which you completed a suspension statement on another Form 2290, if your vehicle late exceeded the mileage limit.
- Figure and pay tax due if the vehicle weight changes during the period such that it falls into a different category.
- Claim exemption from the tax if the vehicle is expected to be used for fewer than 5,000 miles. Agricultural vehicles are limited to 7,500 miles.
- Claim credit for any vehicles that were destroyed, stolen or sold.
- Report that you acquired a used vehicle that qualifies for a suspended tax.
- Figure and pay taxes for used vehicles that have not had their tax suspended.
Schedule 1 of the form is used to report all vehicles for which you are reporting tax, and those for which you are reporting suspended tax. You also use Schedule 1 as proof of payment to register the vehicle.
Form 2290 is required if, during the period beginning July 1, 2010, and ending June 30, 2011, you are required by state, District of Columbia, Mexican, or Canadian law to register a highway vehicle of 55,000 pounds.
A highway vehicle is defined as any self-propelled vehicle designed to carry loads over public highways. This includes trucks, vans, tractors and buses. However, may vans and trucks will be excluded from taxable vehicles because they do not exceed the threshold of 55,000 pounds. The taxable weight of the vehicle is equal to its unloaded weight, the weight of any trailers typically used with it, and a typical load.
Some vehicles are exempt from the tax. This includes vehicles owned and operated by the federal government, local and state governments, the National Red Cross, nonprofit volunteer fire departments, Indian tribal government if the vehicle is used for official government purposes, and mass transportation authority. A few other exempted vehicles include blood donation collection vehicles and mobile machinery that meet certain criteria for exemption. Also, trailers are exempted if primarily designed to function as enclosed, stationary shelters.
A Form 2290 is due for each month a new vehicle is placed into use. Filers have until the end of the following month to file. For example, if you placed a vehicle into use in July, your Form 2290 would be due by the end of August.
Figuring the tax owed is simple, provided you know that taxable weights of any vehicles placed into service. The rates for vehicles placed into service in July range from $100 to $550 for typical vehicles, and from $75 to $412.50 for vehicles primarily used with logging. Rates for vehicles first used later in the year vary, but Form 2290 provides a convenient table you can use to figure the tax for any given time of year.
As always, if you have any questions, it’s best to consult a tax professional. A tax pro can help your business save time and, frequently, money.
Published or updated March 22, 2013.