New Connecticut Highway Use Fee on heavy duty trucks takes effect– first fee due February 28, 2023


Beginning January 1, 2023, certain carriers are required to pay a Highway Use Tax for the privilege of operating, or causing to be operated, certain heavy, multi-unit motor vehicles on any highway (i.e., public road) in Connecticut. The Highway Use Fee is paid to Connecticut’s Department of Revenue Services and is calculated based on a vehicle’s weight and number of miles driven in the state.  Highway Use Fee returns are due on the last day of each calendar month for the immediately preceding calendar month. The first Highway Use Fee Return is due no later than February 28, 2023, for the January tax.

Who Must Register for Highway Use Permit and Pay Highway Use Tax?

Any person that operates or causes to be operated on any highway in Connecticut an eligible motor vehicle—that is, a vehicle with a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or higher and with a classification between Class 8 and Class 13 (inclusive) under the Federal Highway Administration vehicle classification system—must register with the Department of Revenue Services for a Highway Use Fee Permit.  To register for the Highway Use Fee, a carrier must complete and submit an application to DRS. The application is available only in electronic form at DRS-myconneCT.[1] The per-mile fee rate is based on the carrier’s gross weight and ranges from (1) 2.5 cents per mile for vehicles weighing 26,000-28,000 pounds (lbs.) to (2) 17.5 cents per mile for vehicles weighing more than 80,000 lbs. Carriers must file and pay the Highway Use Fee electronically using myconneCT on DRS-myconneCT.

The return is prepared and filed electronically on a designated website. The interface for entering information per vehicle appears below.

The filer must “add” the pertinent information per vehicle, and then calculate and pay the required taxes on the website.

The fee schedule is reproduced below:

Notably, even if the carrier only operates in Connecticut only rarely, it must register for the permit and file a return.  Connecticut has made no provision for a “Temporary” Highway Use Permit.  Once registered, carriers are required to file a Highway Use Fee Return for all monthly periods, regardless of whether or not said carriers operated vehicles in Connecticut during a particular month.

Record Keeping

Each carrier must keep records, receipts, invoices, and other pertinent papers to support the information reported on each Highway Use Fee Return it files with DRS. In addition, each carrier shall maintain, on a monthly basis, a list of all the eligible motor vehicles that it operates or causes to operate on a Connecticut highway during a given month. All such lists shall be maintained by the carrier for not less than four years after the date of each such month and shall be made available to the Department of Revenue Services upon request.

Codification and Penalties

The new Highway Use Tax is codified at Conn. Gen. Stat. § 12-493a. Anyone knowingly violating the statute is subject to a penalty of $1,000. Interest and penalties also apply to any portion of the tax not paid on or before the original due date of the return.

[1] No carrier may lawfully operate or cause to be operated an eligible motor vehicle in the state on or after January 1, 2023, without obtaining a permit from the commissioner of the Department of Revenue Services.

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