Federal Excise Taxes for Highway Trucks

Excise taxes are taxes paid when purchases are made on a specific good, such as gasoline. These taxes are often included in the price of the product. There are also excise taxes on activities, such as on wagering or on highway usage by trucks. Excise Tax is filed annually for any vehicle over 55,000 pounds that operate on public roads.

The tax amount varies depending on the number of months the vehicle was in service during the tax period and it is also determined by the gross vehicle weight. This Taxable Gross Weight is calculated by using the total weight of the vehicle fully equipped for service.

The excise tax does is not applicable to truck bodies and chassis suitable for use with vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight of 33,000 pounds or less or truck trailer and semi-trailer bodies and chassis suitable for use with vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less. In some cases, retailers do not know the gross vehicle weight of the vehicle on which the body will be mounted, making it difficult to determine whether the body meets the “suitable for use” standard.

As per the guidance of the Revenue Procedure 2005-19, it establishes four classifications of truck body types that meet the “suitable for use” standard. Truck body types that meet these classifications are therefore excluded from the retail excise tax:

  • Platform truck bodies 21 feet or less in length;
  • Dry freight and refrigerated truck van bodies 24 feet or less in length;
  • Dump truck bodies with load capacities of eight cubic yards or less; and
  • Refuse packer truck bodies with load capacities of 20 cubic yards or less.