What Exactly is the IRS Form 2290?

As if the IRS doesn’t require enough taxes, here’s another one, the IRS Form 2290! The IRS and your tag office both say you have to file the IRS Form 2290 and pay the IRS 2290 Tax. Even WE say you have to file the Form 2290, and pay the IRS 2290 Tax. But have you ever just stopped and thought to yourself and said, “Self, what exactly is the Form 2290? And where do my IRS 2290 Tax dollars go?!!”  I am here to help answer that!

The Basics

The IRS Form 2290 is what you file to pay the  Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax. It is due annually between July 1 and August 31 for vehicles that drive on American highways with a gross vehicle weight of 55,000 pounds or more.

The tax amount due is based on the vehicle’s weight as well as mileage traveled during the year. The heavier the truck, the higher the taxes, but there is a silver lining for low mileage drivers. If you travel 5,000 miles or less (7,500 or less if agricultural) during the tax period, you do have the file the Form, but you can suspend the tax and $0 are due.

The Form 2290 also includes filing for several other circumstances: amendments, claiming credits, and prorated filings after August 31.


I know this is really exciting stuff – I can even feel your excitement through the computer screen! So prepare to get extra excited, because there’s more! Amendments (or changes to a form you already filed) can be e-filed if:

Claiming Credits

You may be thinking to yourself again while you’re reading this saying, “Self, I feel like I have a better understanding of what the IRS Form 2290 is. But what if I want some money back? NOW!” Well, you’re in luck because you can definitely claim a credit if:

  • You sold or traded a truck
  • A truck was destroyed, crashed, or stolen
  • Or (and this is a good one) if a truck didn’t travel more than 5000 miles.

The first two get a prorated refund for taxes the IRS doesn’t consider “used” by the truck (the website will do all the math for you). The third gets a full tax refund! Keep in mind that the total amount of credit owed to you CANNOT exceed the amount of taxes due to the IRS on a Form 2290.

Filing the Form 2290 After August 31

“Self, what if I purchase my vehicle AFTER August 31? Do I need to pay a full years’ worth of taxes?!” The answer is NO. You’ll only owe tax for the months left in the tax year, the part of the tax year that you’re “using” the truck. File a brand new IRS Form 2290 with us and on Step 2 list the current tax year and the correct date of first use. The taxes will be prorated and you will be good until June 30.

Where Your Money Goes

You’re paying all this money, you know it’s going to the IRS, but why does this tax exist and where does it actually go? All those dollars go to the Highway Trust Fund and I will be writing about what that is exactly for my next article. Stay tuned!

Written by Molly Harris.

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