If you own a vehicle with a weight of 55,000 pounds or more, you must file a 2290 form and pay the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) return to the IRS. Though this statement sounds simple enough to understand, how do you know if your vehicle is taxable?

We have put together all the information you would need to know about form 2290 taxable vehicles and the criteria that need to be met for a vehicle to be taxable.

What are Highway Motor Vehicles?

A highway motor vehicle with a taxable gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more is considered taxable.

Any self-propelled vehicle built to carry a load over public highways is known as highway motor vehicles. However, such vehicles may also be designed to perform other functions. Examples of highway motor vehicles include buses, trucks, and truck tractors.

Several vehicles such as vans, panel trucks, pickup trucks, and other similar vehicles are exempted from this tax as their taxable gross weight falls below 55,000 pounds.

Everything You Need to Know About Taxable Vehicles

A vehicle comprises of a chassis and a body, or just a chassis. It does not include the load.  Regardless of whether a vehicle is built to perform highway transportation to carry specific loads such as furnishing or passengers or cargo, supplies, and other materials, it is considered a highway motor vehicle.

Any road in the United States except private roadways is a public highway. This includes state, county, federal, and city roads.

If you purchase a heavy vehicle from a dealer and drive it home over public highways, the drive home is the vehicle’s first taxable use. Here, ‘use’ refers to using a vehicle with power from its own motor to drive on any public highway in the United States.

Vehicles Exempted From IRS Tax Form 2290

Not all heavy vehicles that are used on public highways are required to file form 2290. Highways motor vehicles are exempted from the tax if the vehicle is used by:

  • A state or local government
  • The District of Columbia
  • The Federal Government
  • The American National Red Cross
  • A nonprofit volunteer ambulance association, rescue squad, or fire department
  • An Indian tribal government to operate an essential tribal government function
  • A mass transportation authority created under a statute with certain powers normally exercised by the state.
  • Qualified blood collector vehicles used by qualified blood collector organizations
  • Specially designed mobile machinery that meets the specifications for a chassis for non-transportation functions.

Vehicles That Are Not Highway Motor Vehicles

Vehicles that are not considered as highway motor vehicles include the following:

  1. Specially designed mobile machinery that are used for non-transport functions: A vehicle isn’t a highway motor vehicle if it meets all the following:

  • A piece of equipment or machinery is permanently mounted to the chassis for construction, drilling, manufacturing, timbering, mining, farming, and other similar operations. Plus, the machinery or equipment does not serve transportation functions on or off public highways.
  • The chassis is specially designed to only work as a mount, mobile carriage and power source (if applicable) for the equipment or machinery regardless of whether it is in operation.
  • The chassis is limited to the above functions and cannot carry any other load unless it undergoes substantial structural modifications.

  1. Specially designed vehicles for off-highway transportation

If a vehicle’s primary function is to transport a type of load other than over public highways and if the vehicle’s special design limits itself to carry a load over a public highway, it is not considered a highway vehicle.

The size of the vehicle, along with other factors such as license and safety requirements, including whether the vehicle can carry a load at least 25 miles per hour or at a sustained speed, will help you determine if it is meant for highway transportation or not.

If a vehicle can transport heavy loads off the highway but cannot carry over a highway, it is not a highway motor vehicle.

In Conclusion

Understanding whether your vehicle is taxable or not is the first step that will help you determine whether you need to pay HVUT tax.

We hope the above form 2290 instructions were helpful to you in understanding everything you need to know about taxable vehicles.