The Truck Renting and Leasing Assn. (TRALA) is spearheading an effort to reform the federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) this year. TRALA wants HVUT pro-rated so truck owners only pay taxes while they actually own their vehicles.
HVUT is a federal excise tax of $550 charged on all trucks over 55,000 lb. GVWR. It can be paid either in one lump sum or in quarterly installments, with the money earmarked for the highway trust fund to cover road maintenance and construction costs.
The problem with the HVUT, said Alexandria, VA-based TRALA, is that if a truck owner sells a vehicle midway through a given tax year, he or she is still responsible for paying the entire $550 HVUT tax.
"We want to see the HVUT changed so if you sell a truck half way through the year, you get a credit back of $225," said Tom James, vp-government relations for TRALA. "We want to make sure truck owners pay taxes just on the trucks they own, not on trucks they don't own."
Last May, Congressman Wes Watkins (R-OK) introduced House Resolution 4828 to provide for a pro-rated refund of the use tax paid on a truck if that truck is sold before the end of the tax period. However, that bill did not come up for a vote and Watkins has since retired from the House.
TRALA hopes to include HVUT reform in the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.