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Instructions for Form 2290

Penalties and Interest(p4)

The law provides penalties for failing to file returns or pay taxes when due. There are also penalties for filing false or fraudulent returns. These penalties are in addition to the interest charge on late payments. The penalty for filing a return late or paying the tax late will not apply if you can show reasonable cause for not filing (or paying) on time. If you receive a penalty for filing your return late or paying your tax late and believe you have reasonable cause for doing so, send a letter to the IRS explaining why you believe you have reasonable cause for filing late or paying late. Do not attach an explanation when you file your return. Use Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement, to request abatement of assessed penalties or interest on Form 2290.

Specific Instructions(p4)


Getting Started(p4)

To complete Form 2290, have the following information available.
  1. Your employer identification number (EIN). You must have an EIN to file Form 2290. You cannot use your social security number.
  2. The vehicle identification number of each vehicle.
  3. The taxable gross weight of each vehicle to determine its category.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)(p4)

Enter the correct EIN. If you do not have an EIN, apply for one online at and click on the Employer ID Numbers (EINs) link. You may also apply for an EIN by calling 1-800-829-4933, or you can fax or mail Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, to the IRS.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)(p4)

The VIN of your vehicle can be obtained from the registration, title, or actual vehicle. Generally, the VIN is 17 characters made up of numbers and letters. Be sure to use the VIN for the vehicle and not from the trailer.

Taxable Gross Weight(p4)

The taxable gross weight of a vehicle (other than a bus) is the total of:
  1. The actual unloaded weight of the vehicle fully equipped for service,
  2. The actual unloaded weight of any trailers or semitrailers fully equipped for service customarily used in combination with the vehicle, and
  3. The weight of the maximum load customarily carried on the vehicle and on any trailers or semitrailers customarily used in combination with the vehicle.
Actual unloaded weight of a vehicle is the empty (tare) weight of the vehicle.
A trailer or semitrailer is treated as customarily used in connection with a vehicle if the vehicle is equipped to tow the trailer or semitrailer.
Fully equipped for service includes the body (whether or not designed for transporting cargo, such as a concrete mixer); all accessories; all equipment attached to or carried on the vehicle for use in its operation or maintenance; and a full supply of fuel, oil, and water. The term does not include the driver; any equipment (not including the body) mounted on, or attached to, the vehicle, for use in handling, protecting, or preserving cargo; or any special equipment (such as an air compressor, crane, or specialized oilfield equipment).


The taxable gross weight of a bus is its actual unloaded weight fully equipped for service plus 150 pounds for each seat provided for passengers and driver.

Determining Taxable Gross Weight(p4)

The weight declared for registering a vehicle in a state may affect the taxable gross weight used to figure the tax. 
State registration by specific gross weight.(p5)
If the vehicle is registered in any state that requires a declaration of gross weight in a specific amount, including proportional or prorated registration or payment of any other fees or taxes, then the vehicle's taxable gross weight must be no less than the highest gross weight declared for the vehicle in any state. If the vehicle is a tractor-trailer or truck-trailer combination, the taxable gross weight must be no less than the highest combined gross weight declared.
State registration by gross weight category.(p5)
If the vehicle is registered in any state that requires vehicles to be registered on the basis of gross weight, and the vehicle is not registered in any state that requires a declaration of specific gross weight, then the vehicle's taxable gross weight must fall within the highest gross weight category for which the vehicle is registered in that state.
State registration by actual unloaded weight.(p5)
If the vehicle is registered only in a state or states that base registration on actual unloaded weight, then the taxable gross weight is the total of the three items listed under Taxable Gross Weight above.
Special permits.(p5)
In determining a vehicle's taxable gross weight, do not consider weights declared to obtain special temporary travel permits. These are permits that allow a vehicle to operate:
  1. In a state in which it is not registered,
  2. At more than a state's maximum weight limit, or
  3. At more than the weight at which it is registered in the state.
However, special temporary travel permits do not include permits that are issued for your vehicle if the total amount of time covered by those permits is more than 60 days or (if issued on a monthly basis) more than 2 months during a taxable year.