Highway Use Tax Explained

4 minute read

Fleet Management

If your trucks drive through New York State, then you need to know about New York’s Highway Use Tax system.To give you a little background, HUT is a tax levied on commercial vehicles that drive on NY roads. The collected tax revenue contributes to New York State’s “Highway and Bridge Trust Fund” to help maintain New York’s road infrastructure. Think of this like having a toll, for commercial vehicles, on all NY roads.

Download Highway Use Tax Guide (PDF)

What Trucks Need to Register for HUT

Basically, there are two different sets of rules that NYS uses determine which vehicles need to be registered for HUT, and it depends on your filing method, which I is covered in the next section.

Generally, there are three factors that New York State looks at:

  • If you are driving a truck that has an unloaded weight of more than 8,000 lb
  • If you are driving a tractor, that has an unloaded weight of more than 4,000 lb 
  • If you are driving a truck or tractor with a gross weight of more than 18,000 lb

If any of your trucks are over the weight requirements, and drive on New York roads, they will have to register and pay HUT, even if your business isn’t based in New York.

How To Register for HUT

First you need to establish an account and for this you will need to file Form TMT-39, New Account Application for Highway Use Tax (HUT).

Once your application has been approved, you will receive credentials for NY’s One Stop Credentialing and Registration system. From this OSCAR portal, you will be able to register your trucks online.

hut-sticker-placement

After you register, your trucks will receive a HUT decal that needs to be affixed to the body or the bumper of the truck in a conspicuous place, ideally near the license plate.

Filing Options for HUT

There are two methods: The Gross Weight Method and the Unloaded Weight Method. The filing method determines which set of requirements is applied to your vehicles.

Gross Weight Method

When the Gross Weight Method is used, and it has two different options: the Straight Line Option and the Heaviest Weight Option.

When using the straight line option, you will compute your tax based on the taxable miles for each vehicle you operated during the period.

If you operate more than one truck or tractor on New York State public highways during the reporting period, you may use the heaviest weight option.

So to recap: basically the Straight Line Option you are recording each vehicle on one line, versus with the Heaviest Weight Option, you are recording a group of vehicles on each line that match the same configuration of weight. This is done twice, once for the laden weight and again for the unladen weight.

Unloaded Weight Method

Now, if instead, you choose to use the unloaded weight method, you must use it for the following vehicles operated on New York State public highways during the reporting period a truck with an unloaded weight of more than 8,000 pounds, and a tractor with an unloaded weight of more than 4,000 pounds.

"The thing is with laden weight you have to have records of it. Whether it be you have every bill of lading, scale tickets: I was loaded here, I unloaded here, picked up here and this is what I loaded. Some sort of proof that this is the miles I ran in New York State that are empty."



Becky Derway - Owner
GILDER TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS

Record-keeping Requirements for HUT

Since the tax is based on the mileage traveled on New York public highways, you need to keep track of miles driven inside of New York State and all miles driven outside of New York State.

The mileage you report to New York State needs to have records to back it up, such as trip tickets, hours of service records, if drivers are required to maintain RODS, driver time cards or GPS trip records from your telematics system.

As a telematics fleet service provider, Carmalink keeps a minimum of four years of trip records for clients who are registered with HUT, in accordance with New York record-keeping requirements.

How Often You Need To File HUT

How often you need to file depends on how much you owe. If you have to pay more than $4,000 you are going to be paying monthly. If you are paying less than $4,000 you can do that quarterly. If you owe $250 or less you might have the option to pay annually with tax department approval.

Highway Use Tax Fines

And if you don’t pay, there are pretty severe penalties in New York State.

If you fail to file your return or pay tax on time, you will be charged an additional 10% of the tax due plus 1% for each additional month.

If you drive through NYS without registering your vehicle for HUT and don’t have a decal, you are subject to a ticket and fine of up to $2,000 for the first offense.

If you operate a vehicle with an actual gross weight or unloaded weight above that listed on the HUT certificate you are subject to criminal penalties. Up to $250 for the first conviction, second conviction up to $500 and up to 10 days imprisonment.

If you falsify any information on a return, they can fine you up to $250,000 at the Federal level.

Basically, don’t do it.

Exemptions from HUT

If your vehicles are under the weight requirements, you don't have to do anything for HUT. This might be something you want to consider the next time you’re purchasing a vehicle.

Also, if you are an Automotive Fuel Carrier, there are a separate set of rules you have to follow in New York State which supersede HUT and I’m not going to be covering that in this video.

Lastly, if you only make occasional trips through NY, you can avoid registering from HUT by obtaining what’s known as a Trip Certificate of Registration for a $25 fee. The catch is, you can’t use more than ten trip certificates per year, so it’s really only for limited use cases.

Download Highway Use Tax Guide (PDF)

 

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