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Publication 510
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117266

Chapter 6
Retail Tax on
Heavy Trucks,
Trailers, and Tractors(p34)

A tax of 12% of the sales price is imposed on the first retail sale of the following articles, including related parts and accessories sold on or in connection with, or with the sale of, the articles.
A truck is a highway vehicle primarily designed to transport its load on the same chassis as the engine, even if it is equipped to tow a vehicle, such as a trailer or semitrailer.
A tractor is a highway vehicle designed to tow a vehicle, such as a trailer or semitrailer. A tractor may carry incidental items of cargo when towing or limited amounts of cargo when not towing.
A sale of a truck, truck trailer, or semitrailer is considered a sale of a chassis and a body.
The seller is liable for the tax.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117267

Chassis or body.(p34)

rule
A chassis or body is taxable only if you sell it for use as a component part of a highway vehicle that is a truck, truck trailer or semitrailer, or a tractor of the kind chiefly used for highway transportation in combination with a trailer or semitrailer.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117268
Highway vehicle.(p34)
A highway vehicle is any self-propelled vehicle designed to carry a load over public highways, whether or not it is also designed to perform other functions. Examples of vehicles designed to carry a load over public highways are passenger automobiles, motorcycles, buses, and highway-type trucks and truck tractors. A vehicle is a highway vehicle even though the vehicle's design allows it to perform a highway transportation function for only one of the following.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117269
Vehicles not considered highway vehicles.(p34)
Generally, the following kinds of vehicles are not considered highway vehicles for purposes of the retail tax.
  1. Specially designed mobile machinery for nontransportation functions. A self-propelled vehicle is not a highway vehicle if all the following apply.
    1. The chassis has permanently mounted to it machinery or equipment used to perform certain operations (construction, manufacturing, drilling, mining, timbering, processing, farming, or similar operations) if the operation of the machinery or equipment is unrelated to transportation on or off the public highways.
    2. The chassis has been specially designed to serve only as a mobile carriage and mount (and power source, if applicable) for the machinery or equipment, whether or not the machinery or equipment is in operation.
    3. The chassis could not, because of its special design and without substantial structural modification, be used as part of a vehicle designed to carry any other load.
  2. Vehicles specially designed for off-highway transportation. A vehicle is not treated as a highway vehicle if the vehicle is specially designed for the primary function of transporting a particular type of load other than over the public highway and because of this special design, the vehicles's capability to transport a load over a public highway is substantially limited or impaired.To make this determination, you can take into account the vehicle's size, whether the vehicle is subject to licensing, safety, or other requirements, and whether the vehicle can transport a load at a sustained speed of at least 25 miles per hour. It does not matter that the vehicle can carry heavier loads off highway than it is allowed to carry over the highway.
  3. Nontransportation trailers and
    semitrailers.
    A trailer or semitrailer is not treated as a highway vehicle if it is specially designed to function only as an enclosed stationary shelter for carrying on a nontransportation function at an off-highway site. For example, a trailer that is capable only of functioning as an office for an off-highway construction operation is not a highway vehicle.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117270

Gross vehicle weight.(p35)

rule
The tax does not apply to truck chassis and bodies suitable for use with a vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight (defined below) of 33,000 pounds or less. It also does not apply to truck trailer and semitrailer chassis and bodies suitable for use with a trailer or semitrailer that has a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less. Tractors that have a gross vehicle weight of 19,500 pounds or less and a gross combined weight of 33,000 pounds or less are excluded from the 12% retail tax.
The following four classifications of truck body types meet the suitable for use standard and will be excluded from the retail excise tax.For more information on these classifications, see Revenue Procedure 2005-19, which is on page 832 of I.R.B. 2005-14 at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb05-14.pdf.
The gross vehicle weight means the maximum total weight of a loaded vehicle. Generally, this maximum total weight is the gross vehicle weight rating provided by the manufacturer or determined by the seller of the completed article. The seller's gross vehicle weight rating is determined solely on the basis of the strength of the chassis frame and the axle capacity and placement. The seller may not take into account any readily attachable components (such as tires or rim assemblies) in determining the gross vehicle weight. See Regulations section 145.4051-1(e)(3) for more information.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117271

Parts or accessories.(p35)

rule
The tax applies to parts or accessories sold on or in connection with, or with the sale of, a taxable article. For example, if at the time of the sale by the retailer, the part or accessory has been ordered from the retailer, the part or accessory will be considered as sold in connection with the sale of the vehicle. The tax applies in this case whether or not the retailer bills the parts or accessories separately.
If the retailer sells a taxable chassis, body, or tractor without parts or accessories considered essential for the operation or appearance of the taxable article, the sale of the parts or accessories by the retailer to the purchaser is considered made in connection with the sale of the taxable article even though they are shipped separately, at the same time, or on a different date. The tax applies unless there is evidence to the contrary. For example, if a retailer sells to any person a chassis and the bumpers for the chassis, or sells a taxable tractor and the fifth wheel and attachments, the tax applies to the parts or accessories regardless of the method of billing or the time at which the shipments were made. The tax does not apply to parts and accessories that are spares or replacements.
The tax imposed on parts and accessories sold on or in connection with the taxable articles listed earlier and the tax imposed on the separate purchase of parts and accessories (discussed next) for the taxable articles listed earlier do not apply to an idling reduction device or insulation that has an R value of at least R35 per inch.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000118051
Idling reduction device.(p35)
An idling reduction device is any device or system of devices that provide the tractor with services, such as heat, air conditioning, and electricity, without the use of the main drive engine while the tractor is temporarily parked or stationary. The device must be affixed to the tractor and determined by the Administrator of the EPA, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy and Secretary of Transportation, to reduce idling while parked or stationary. The EPA discusses idling reduction technologies on its website at www.epa.gov/smartway/technology/idling.htm.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117272
Separate purchase.(p35)
The tax generally applies to the price of a part or accessory and its installation if the following conditions are met.
The owners of the trade or business installing the parts or accessories are secondarily liable for the tax.
A vehicle is placed in service on the date the owner takes actual possession of the vehicle. This date is established by a signed delivery ticket or other comparable document indicating delivery to and acceptance by the owner.
The tax does not apply if the installed part or accessory is a replacement part or accessory. The tax also does not apply if the total price of the parts and accessories, including installation charges, during the 6-month period is $1,000 or less. However, if the total price is more than $1,000, the tax applies to the cost of all parts and accessories (and installation charges) during that period.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117273

Example.(p35)

You bought a taxable vehicle and placed it in service on April 8. On May 3, you bought and installed parts and accessories at a cost of $850. On July 15, you bought and installed parts and accessories for $300. Tax of $138 (12% of $1,150) applies on July 15. Also, tax will apply to any costs of additional parts and accessories installed on the vehicle before October 8.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117274

First retail sale defined.(p35)

rule
The sale of an article is treated as the first retail sale, and the seller will be liable for the tax imposed on the sale unless one of the following exceptions applies.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117275
Leases.(p35)
A long-term lease (a lease with a term of 1 year or more, taking into account options to renew) before a first retail sale is treated as a taxable sale. The tax is imposed on the lessor at the time of the lease.
A short-term lease (a lease with a term of less than 1 year, taking into account options to renew) before a first retail sale is treated as a taxable use. The tax is imposed on the lessor at the time of the lease.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117276
Exported vehicle.(p35)
A vehicle exported before its first retail sale, used in a foreign country, and then returned to the United States is subject to the retail tax on its first domestic use or retail sale after importation.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117277
Tax on resale of tax-paid trailers and semitrailers.(p35)
The tax applies to a trailer or semitrailer resold within 6 months after having been sold in a taxable sale. The seller liable for the tax on the resale can claim a credit equal to the tax paid on the prior taxable sale. The credit cannot exceed the tax on the resale. See Regulations section 145.4052-1(a)(4) for information on the conditions to allowance for the credit.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117278
Use treated as sale.(p35)
If any person uses a taxable article before the first retail sale of the article, that person is liable for the tax as if the article had been sold at retail by that person. Figure the tax on the price at which similar articles are sold in the ordinary course of trade by retailers. The tax attaches when the use begins.
If the seller of an article regularly sells the articles at retail in arm's-length transactions, figure the tax on its use on the lowest established retail price for the articles in effect at the time of the taxable use.
If the seller of an article does not regularly sell the articles at retail in arm's-length transactions, a constructive price on which the tax is figured will be determined by the IRS after considering the selling practices and price structures of sellers of similar articles.
If a seller of an article incurs liability for tax on the use of the article and later sells or leases the article in a transaction that otherwise would be taxable, liability for tax is not incurred on the later sale or lease.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117279

Presumptive retail sales price.(p36)

rule
There are rules to ensure that the tax base of transactions considered to be taxable sales includes either an actual or presumed markup percentage. If the person liable for tax is the vehicle's manufacturer, producer, or importer, the following discussions show how you figure the presumptive retail sales price depending on the type of transaction and the persons involved in the transaction. Table 6-1 outlines the appropriate tax base calculation for various transactions.
The presumed markup percentage to be used for trucks and truck-tractors is 4%. But for truck trailers and semitrailers and remanufactured trucks and tractors, the presumed markup percentage is zero.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117280
Sale.(p36)
For a taxable sale by a manufacturer, producer, importer, or related person, you generally figure the tax on a tax base of the sales price plus an amount equal to the presumed markup percentage times that sales price.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117281
Long-term lease.(p36)
In the case of a long-term lease by a manufacturer, producer, importer, or related person, figure the tax on a tax base of the constructive sales price plus an amount equal to the presumed markup percentage times the constructive sales price.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117282
Short-term lease.(p36)
When a manufacturer, producer, importer, or related person leases an article in a short-term lease considered a taxable use, figure the tax on a constructive sales price at which those or similar articles generally are sold in the ordinary course of trade by retailers.
But if the lessor in this situation regularly sells articles at retail in arm's-length transactions, figure the tax on the lowest established retail price in effect at the time of the taxable use.
If a person other than the manufacturer, producer, importer, or related person leases an article in a short-term lease considered a taxable use, figure the tax on a tax base of the price for which the article was sold to the lessor plus the cost of parts and accessories installed by the lessor and a presumed markup percentage.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117283
Related person.(p36)
A related person is any member of the same controlled group as the manufacturer, producer, or importer. Do not treat as a related person a person that sells the articles through a permanent retail establishment in the normal course of being a retailer if that person has records to prove the article was sold for a price that included a markup equal to or greater than the presumed markup percentage.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#id201307_id201207_f15014i01

Table 6-1. Tax Base

IF the transaction is a...THEN figuring the base by using the...
Sale by the manufacturer, producer, importer, or related personSales price plus (presumed markup percentage × sales price)
Sale by the dealerTotal consideration paid for the item including any charges incident to placing it in a condition ready for use
Long-term lease by the manufacturer, producer, importer, or related personConstructive sales price plus (presumed markup percentage × constructive sales price)
Short-term lease by the manufacturer, producer, importer, or related personConstructive sales price at which such or similar articles are sold
Short-term lease by a lessor other than the manufacturer, producer, importer, or related personPrice for which the article was sold to the lessor plus the cost of parts and accessories installed by the lessor plus a presumed markup percentage
Short-term lease where the articles are regularly sold at arm's lengthLowest established retail price in effect at the time of the taxable use
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117284

General rule for sales by dealers to the consumer.(p36)

rule
For a taxable sale, other than a long-term lease, by a person other than a manufacturer, producer, importer, or related person, your tax base is the retail sales price as discussed next under Determination of tax base.
When you sell an article to the consumer, generally you do not add a presumed markup to the tax base. However, you do add a markup if all the following apply. In these situations, your tax base is the sales price plus an amount equal to the presumed markup percentage times that selling price.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117285

Determination of tax base.(p36)

rule
These rules apply to both normal retail sales price and presumptive retail sales price computations. To arrive at the tax base, the price is the total consideration paid (including trade-in allowance) for the item and includes any charge incident to placing the article in a condition ready for use. However, see Presumptive retail sales price, earlier.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117286
Exclusions from tax base.(p36)
Exclude from the tax base the retail excise tax imposed on the sale. Exclude any state or local retail sales tax if stated as a separate charge from the price whether the sales tax is imposed on the seller or purchaser. Also exclude the value of any used component of the article furnished by the first user of the article.
Exclude charges for transportation, delivery, insurance, and installation (other than installation charges for parts and accessories, discussed earlier) and other expenses incurred in connection with the delivery of an article to a purchaser. These expenses are those incurred in delivery from the retail dealer to the customer. In the case of delivery directly from the manufacturer to the dealer's customer, include the transportation and delivery charges to the extent the charges do not exceed what it would have cost to ship the article to the dealer.
Exclude amounts charged for machinery or equipment that does not contribute to the highway transportation function of the vehicle, provided those charges are supported by adequate records. For example, for an industrial vacuum loader vehicle, exclude amounts charged for the vacuum pump and hose, filter system, material separator, silencer or muffler, control cabinet, and ladder. Similarly, for a sewer cleaning vehicle, exclude amounts charged for the high pressure water pump, hose components, and the vacuum pipe.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117287
Sales not at arm's length.(p36)
For any taxable article sold (not at arm's length) at less than the fair market price, figure the excise tax on the price for which similar articles are sold at retail in the ordinary course of trade.
A sale is not at arm's length if either of the following apply.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117288
Installment sales.(p36)
If the first retail sale is an installment sale, or other form of sale in which the sales price is paid in installments, tax liability arises at the time of the sale. The tax is figured on the entire sales price. No part of the tax is deferred because the sales price is paid in installments.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117289
Repairs and modifications.(p36)
The tax does not apply to the sale or use of an article that has been repaired or modified unless the cost of the repairs and modifications is more than 75% of the retail price of a comparable new article. This includes modifications that change the transportation function of an article or restore a wrecked article to a functional condition. However, this exception generally does not apply to an article that was not subject to the tax when it was new.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117290
Further manufacture.(p36)
The tax does not apply to the use by a person of a taxable article as material in the manufacture or production of, or as a component part of, another article to be manufactured or produced by that person. Do not treat a person as engaged in the manufacture of any article merely because that person combines the article with a: Combining an article with an item in this list does not give rise to taxability. However, see Parts or accessories discussed earlier.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117291

Articles exempt from tax.(p37)

rule
The tax on heavy trucks, trailers, and tractors does not apply to sales of the articles described in the following discussions.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117292
Rail trailers and rail vans.(p37)
This is any chassis or body of a trailer or semitrailer designed for use both as a highway vehicle and a railroad car (including any parts and accessories designed primarily for use on and in connection with it). Do not treat a piggyback trailer or semitrailer as designed for use as a railroad car.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117293
Parts and accessories.(p37)
This is any part or accessory sold separately from the truck or trailer, except as described earlier under Parts or accessories and Separate purchase.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117294
Trash containers.(p37)
This is any box, container, receptacle, bin, or similar article that meets all the following conditions.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117295
House trailers.(p37)
This is any house trailer (regardless of size) suitable for use in connection with either passenger automobiles or trucks.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117296
Camper coaches or bodies for self-propelled mobile homes.(p37)
This is any article designed to be mounted or placed on trucks, truck chassis, or automobile chassis and to be used primarily as living quarters or camping accommodations. Further, the tax does not apply to chassis specifically designed and constructed to accommodate and transport self-propelled mobile home bodies.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117297
Farm feed, seed, and fertilizer equipment.(p37)
This is any body primarily designed to process or prepare, haul, spread, load, or unload feed, seed, or fertilizer to or on farms. This exemption applies only to the farm equipment body (and parts and accessories) and not to the chassis upon which the farm equipment is mounted.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117298
Ambulances and hearses.(p37)
This is any ambulance, hearse, or combination ambulance-hearse.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117299
Truck-tractors.(p37)
This is any truck-tractor specifically designed for use in shifting semitrailers in and around freight yards and freight terminals.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117300
Concrete mixers.(p37)
This is any article designed to be placed or mounted on a truck, truck trailer, or semitrailer chassis to be used to process or prepare concrete. This exemption does not apply to the chassis on which the article is mounted.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117301

Sales exempt from tax.(p37)

rule
The following sales are ordinarily exempt from tax.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117302
Registration requirement.(p37)
In general, the seller and buyer must be registered for a sale to be tax free. See the Form 637 instructions for more information. Certain registration exceptions apply in the case of sales to state and local governments, sales to foreign purchasers for export, and sales for resale or long term leasing.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117303
Further manufacture.(p37)
If you buy articles tax free and resell or use them other than in the manufacture of another article, you are liable for the tax on their resale or use just as if you had manufactured and made the first retail sale of them.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117304

Credits or refunds.(p37)

rule
A credit or refund (without interest) of the retail tax on the taxable articles described earlier may be allowable if the tax has been paid with respect to an article and, before any other use, such article is used by any person as a component part of another taxable article manufactured or produced. The person using the article as a component part is eligible for the credit or refund.
A credit or refund is allowable if, before any other use, an article is, by any person: A credit or refund is also allowable if there is a price readjustment by reason of the return or repossession of an article or by reason of a bona fide discount, rebate, or allowance.
See also Conditions to allowance in chapter 5.
taxmap/pubs/p510-041.htm#en_us_publink1000117305

Tire credit.(p37)

rule
A credit is allowed against the retail tax on the taxable articles described earlier if taxable tires are sold on or in connection with the sale of the article. The credit is equal to the manufacturers excise tax imposed on the taxable tires (discussed earlier). This is the section 4051(d) taxable tire credit and is claimed on Schedule C (Form 720) for the same quarter for which the tax on the heavy vehicle is reported.