As all can imagine, it is difficult for the federal government to force cooperation with the heavy vehicle use tax. Yet, it is vital to the many roadway organizations and funds that state agencies remain in compliance with HVUT standards in order to maintain and conserve our national roadways. The Federal Highway Administration of the US Department of Transportation has taken multiple proactive actions to better enhance HVUT compliance throughout the nation. Although the responsibility largely falls upon the authority of state governments to administer the review of HVUT payment, the federal government has taken steps to demonstrate the necessity for state compliance.
For instance, the FHWA authorized a legal act entitled, “The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETA-LU),” which guarantees each states’ share of funding apportionment from the Federal Highway funds will equal 90.5 percent of its overall contribution to the Highway Trust Fund. This enhances state government compliance because the vast majority of all funds contributed by states to the Federal Highway Trust Fund are returned through highway fund apportionments, so there is an incentive for states to make the necessary changes to enhance HVUT compliance.
As it relates to hands-on measures taken by FHWA, the administration has: created a tri-fold brochure highlighting the importance of HVUT tax compliance that can be distributed at department of motor vehicle offices; created training modules instructing FHWA division staff on how to prepare for compliance reviews, procedures for completing the reviews, flags that indicate non-compliance, types of evasion techniques and methods used to identify specific evasion techniques; and improved guidelines for conducting HVUT compliance reviews.
Here are some things we, as citizens, can do to enhance compliance. We can pressure our state decision-makers and managers to invest more resources and time into HVUT compliance so that they can begin to obtain the best practices in HVUT compliance. We can join professional and special interest associations to get the word out by attaching the FHWA’s tax compliance brochure to member newsletters. We can take the time to understand the importance of the HVUT & ensure that it is always paid on time. And everyone can help get the word out on the importance of HVUT compliance.