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As of January 1, 2023, a new highway use fee will apply to carriers operating certain heavy, multi-unit motor vehicles on any highway in Connecticut.

Any carrier who operates an eligible motor vehicle in Connecticut must:

  • Register with DRS by January 1, 2023, and obtain a permit;
  • File returns and remit the tax to the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) on a monthly basis; and
  • Keep records to support the information reported on each highway use fee return.

What is an “eligible motor vehicle”?

For purposes of the highway use fee, an “eligible motor vehicle” means a motor vehicle that:

  • Has a gross weight of 26,000 pounds or more, and
  • Carries a classification between Class 8 and Class 13, inclusive, under the Federal Highway Administration vehicle classification system.

An “eligible motor vehicle” does not include a motor vehicle carrying or transporting milk or dairy product to or from a dairy farm that holds a license to ship milk.

Register to obtain permit

Carriers who operate eligible motor vehicles in Connecticut must register with the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) by January 1, 2023. After registering, a permit will be available in myconneCT, DRS’ online filing and paying portal.

The registration portal became available November 15, 2022. There is no fee to register.

The carrier must place a copy of the permit in each eligible vehicle operated by the carrier in the state. No carrier may lawfully operate an eligible motor vehicle in Connecticut on or after January 1, 2023, without obtaining a highway use fee permit from DRS.

According to DRS, no “temporary” highway use permits will be issued for the occasional operation of covered motor vehicles on a Connecticut highway.

File returns and payment monthly

The highway use fee applies to calendar months beginning on or after January 1, 2023. The return and associated payment must be filed on or before the end of the month following the month covered by the return. The first return is due on or before February 28, 2023.

Registered carriers must file a return for all monthly periods, regardless of whether they operated vehicles in Connecticut during a particular month.

Fees range by weight

The fee is calculated based on a vehicle’s weight and number of miles driven in the state. The per-mile fee rate increases based on the carrier’s gross weight, ranging from 2.5 cents per mile for vehicles weighing 26,000-28,000 pounds to 17.5 cents per mile for vehicles weighing more than 80,000 pounds.

Recordkeeping required

Each carrier must keep records, receipts, invoices, and other pertinent papers in a manner to support the information reported on each highway use fee return it files with DRS. In addition, each carrier must maintain, on a monthly basis, a list of all the eligible motor vehicles that the carrier operates or causes to operate on a highway in the state during that month. These lists must be maintained for not less than four years after the date of each month and must be made available to DRS upon request.

Key to remember: Any carrier who operates an eligible motor vehicle in Connecticut is subject to the highway use fee and must register with DRS by January 1, 2023. The stakes are high, since any person who knowingly violates the new rules will be subject to a fine of $1,000.