What You Need to Know about New York Highway Use Tax


As one of the busiest and most populated states in the United States, New York has a complex transportation infrastructure that requires careful maintenance and management. 

To help fund the upkeep of highways and ensure their proper functioning, the state implemented the New York Highway Use Tax

Keep reading as we will delve into the specifics of this tax, its purpose, who is required to pay it, how it is calculated, and other important information. 

Understanding the New York Highway Use Tax

The New York Highway Use Tax applies to trucks and other vehicles that travel on public roads in New York State (excluding the toll-paid parts of the New York State Thruway).

Its primary objective is to generate revenue to maintain and improve the transportation infrastructure, including highways, bridges, and tunnels.

Certificate of Registration and Decals

Before you can obtain a New York Highway Use Tax (HUT), you are required to get a certificate of registration and decal for each vehicle in your fleet. There are three ways you can get a certificate of registration:

  • Apply online: Use the One Stop Credentialing and Registration (OSCAR) system.
  • Fill out and mail a paper form: File Form TMT-1, Application for Highway Use Tax (HUT) and Automotive Fuel Carrier (AFC) Certificates of Registration (C of R) and Decals.
  • Seek assistance from a permit service company approved by the Tax Department.

Additionally, you must attach a decal to each vehicle that requires a certificate of registration.

Calculating the Highway Use Tax

The New York Highway Use Tax (HUT) is calculated based on the weight of the motor carrier’s vehicle, and the distance traveled within the state. When you file your first tax return for the year, you need to select one of two methods to calculate your tax:

  • The gross weight method, which considers the total weight of your vehicle.
  • The unloaded weight method, which looks at the weight of your vehicle when it’s empty.

Applicability and Exemptions

The tax applies to motor carriers operating vehicles with a gross weight of over 18,000 pounds on public highways in New York State. However, there are several exemptions to consider. 

For instance, government-owned vehicles, recreational vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses, and certain farm vehicles are exempt from the tax. 

Reporting and Filing Requirements

If you are required to pay the highway use tax and have a certificate of registration, you must submit a highway use tax return. There are two ways to file:

  • Web File: You can file your highway use tax return online by creating an Online Services account if you don’t have one already. Once you have an account, log in and select Highway Use Tax Web File. 

The benefits of this method include automatic calculation of amounts owed, direct payment from your bank account, and instant confirmation. 

  • File by mail: Alternatively, you can file a paper tax return using Form MT-903.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with the New York Highway Use Tax regulations can result in civil and criminal penalties, including fines, imprisonment, or both. The Tax Department also has the authority to refuse your certificate of registration for operating a vehicle in New York State or suspend or cancel your existing certificate. 

Online Resources and Assistance

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance offers various online resources to assist motor carriers in understanding and complying with the Highway Use Tax requirements. 

The department’s official website provides comprehensive information, forms, guides, and frequently asked questions to address common concerns. 


The New York Highway Use Tax plays a vital role in supporting the maintenance and improvement of the state’s transportation infrastructure. Compliance with tax regulations is essential to avoid penalties and maintain a smoothly functioning transportation network. 

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