If you’re a big rig truck driver or own multiple trucks as part of your business, you’re probably aware that your taxes are unfortunately a little more complicated than others. There are a few possible payments required and a couple of benefits that all have to do with driving a big rig.
On the bright side, nearly everything tax-related that you have to worry about specifically as a truck driver can be found on the IRS Form 2290, the Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return.
All About Form 2290
Big rig drivers have to pay an excise tax specifically to use the big rig on the highway. The idea is that heavy vehicles produce a lot of extra wear and tear on public highways, so truck drivers are asked to pay a little extra to make up for it.
Form 2290 allows you to calculate and pay this tax every year or possibly to waive it if you’re eligible. You report your ownership and use of a truck depending on its size category and the miles you’ve traveled.
You may need to file and pay a tax on your vehicle through Form 2290 if you meet any of these requirements in the time period addressed:
- You used one or more highway motor vehicles with a taxable weight of at least 55,000 pounds
- The taxable weight of one of your vehicles increased enough to move your vehicle into a different category
- You exceeded your expected mileage for a big rig you had previously waived the tax for
However, Form 2290 also allows you to avoid paying this excise tax or get a credit back under certain circumstances. If you expect to drive a vehicle 5,000 miles or less in the given period, you can claim a suspension from the payment for the next period of a year.
If you previously paid a tax on a vehicle, only to lose or sell the vehicle, you can also claim a credit for that previous payment. This also applies to big rigs that you end up driving for less than 5,000 miles in the given period.
How Do I Submit Form 2290?
After filling out Form 2290 and filling in Schedule 1 with details about your big rig, you can submit your forms online through the IRS or mail them in. You can mail in any payment due to the IRS, or you can pay online through a direct debit transfer or EFTPS, the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.
If you are filing simultaneously for 25 or more vehicles, you are automatically required to file Form 2290 online.
What Do I Need to File?
Here is all you need to get ready to file:
- Your Employer Identification Number
- Your Vehicle Identification Number for each vehicle you’re filing for
- The taxable gross weight of each vehicle, which determines the payment category it falls under
Your vehicle’s taxable gross weight is determined by adding the weight of the unloaded big rig, any trailers regularly used, and the maximum load weight customarily used for the vehicle and trailers.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
Form 2290 should be filed once a year. You essentially pay in advance for your expected use of highways for the next year, or, as the case may be, report in advance that you will not be using your vehicles enough to pay the regular tax.
For vehicles you use every year, the designated time period covered by form 2290 begins July 1, and the form 2290 deadline each year is August 31.
However, when you first buy or start using a vehicle, you don’t get to wait until the following August to file. You are required to file a form for any big rig truck registered under your name shortly after you begin using it, although your taxes will be reduced based on when it is.
You have until the end of the next month after your first use of a big rig on the road to file form 2290. That means that if you first use a vehicle at any time in December, you must fill out and turn in your first tax reporting form by January 31.
Once you’ve figured out the process, it shouldn’t be too complicated to keep up with the paperwork. However, it can be a lot to keep up with when you’re first starting, especially if you’re a small business owner keeping track of many different big rigs.
Don’t hesitate to get help from a professional tax accountant if you’re concerned about the process. It’s important to meet your tax obligations, but you also don’t want to end up spending more money on taxes than you’re strictly required to. Take the time you need to make sure you’re making the right choices for your vehicles and your business.