Permits to Start a Trucking Business


Licenses and permit requirements seem endless for a trucking business. Several permits are required simply for tax purposes while others are needed to conduct business operations across state lines. These requirements are in addition to all normal licenses for a business including a business license. Failure to obtain the proper permits could cause a trucking business to incur fines and cause delays in deliveries as vehicles are stopped for not having the proper credentials.

IFTA Permits

The International Fuel Tax Agreement or IFTA is an arrangement among the states to report fuel taxes from interstate cargo carriers. Your trucking company must possess an IFTA permit to conduct business across state lines. To obtain this permit you must complete an IFTA application for the state your business is located in. Appropriate IFTA decals are issued once your application is accepted. This must be done for each truck in your trucking business since each application only generates one set of IFTA decals. You must also submit a quarterly tax return to the IFTA. Obtaining an IFTA Quarterly Tax Rate Schedule can help you determine how to pay your fuel taxes and where to send payments.

Oversize/Overweight Permits

An over-sized/overweight vehicle permit is needed each time a vehicle in your business hauls cargo beyond its weight class or hauls cargo which is considered "over-sized." The permit authorizes your business to move a truck according to weight restrictions for over-sized or overweight loads; in addition it contains safety requirements and restricted routing information. Some states allow you to obtain an annual over-sized or overweight trucking permit if your business regularly moves cargo beyond the standard size limits.

Unified Carrier Registration

Unified Carrier Registration for your trucking business if you plan to hire truck drivers to haul cargo across state lines in motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating or a gross vehicle weight of 10,001lbs -- whichever is greater. Unified Carrier Registration requires the payment of an annual fee to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The fees varies based on the nature of your trucking company, how many carriers are in your trucking fleet and what type of cargo your carriers haul.

International Registration Plan

You are required to file an International Registration Plan if you own the trucks in your fleet and these vehicles operate in multiple states over the course of the year. This plan is needed to report annual mileage for your vehicles and ensure appropriate taxes are paid for each state your vehicles are operating in. Your International Registration Plan is used by the state your business is based in to distribute your tax payments to the appropriate states your commercial vehicles operated in over the past year.

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