Albany Traffic Law Court

NY HUT (Highway Tax Use) Laws: Vehicle Status & Payment Requirements

Highway use tax (“HUT”) is complex and not following its specifications can result in hefty fines and possible loss of license.

HUT Definition:

The laws of New York State are unique for heavy vehicles. The state imposes a highway use tax, or HUT, for automobiles weighing over a certain amount. The tax fluctuates according to the weight and purpose of the vehicle. There is also more than one way to report the tax, and depending on the vehicle, this can raise or lower the tax rate. This law applies in all of New York State, excluding the parts of the New York State Thruway that have tolls.

Excluded vehicles:

The following vehicles are excluded from HUT laws:

  1. Omnibus.
  2. Power shovel.
  3. Road building machines.
  4. Road roller.
  5. Road sweeper.
  6. Sand spreader.
  7. Snow plow.
  8. Tractor crane.
  9. Truck crane.
  10. Well driller.

Note: These exclusions only apply if the vehicle is used specifically for what it is excluded. Any non-excluded use requires you to file a tax report as with any other heavy vehicle. Any uncertainty about exclusion status requires the help of a legal professional. There are laws and legal ramifications pertaining to these exclusions that are generally only understood by experienced NYS traffic attorneys.

Exempt vehicles:

Unlike the aforementioned vehicles, properly registered exempt vehicles are entirely . exempt from HUT laws:

  1. United States Mail.
  2. Vehicle under the control of the government.
  3. Farming.
  4. Household goods mover.
  5. Fire company.
  6. Recreational.
  7. Transporter or dealer plates.

Note: These vehicles are only exempt if you perform the following two actions:

  1. You register for an exemption.
  2. You make sure the vehicle is used for the exempt action ONLY. If the vehicle is used for an action not registered for, you must file a tax report.

How much do you need to pay?

There are two methods of payment. Depending on your situation, one might be more expensive than the other. Note: Whichever method is used, the same method must always be used. These methods are:

Gross Weight Method:

This method is filed by calculating the full weight of the vehicle. This includes the vehicle itself; any attached parts; any attached trailers or attachments and the maximum load to be carried by the vehicle. Note: This does not include the driver or helper. The Gross Weight Method can be filed in two ways.

  • Straight Line Option: This tax report is filed based on the miles you have driven in this vehicle. You need to calculate the miles driven while laden and the miles driven while unladen. While laden, the gross weight is calculated. While unladen, the unloaded weight is calculated.
  • Heaviest Weight Option: This option is recommended for those who use more than one vehicle. This option is done by calculating the heaviest weight used. This option too, is calculated by the gross weight and mileage while laden, and the unloaded weight and mileage while unladen.

Unloaded Weight Method:

This method is filed by calculating the core weight of the truck. This includes the following parts.

  • All equipment necessary for the vehicle to work.
  • All equipment necessary for the vehicle’s safety.
  • Any equipment attached to the vehicle.
  • Any equipment used exclusively for the protection of its load.
  • Any equipment used for loading and unloading the vehicle.
  • The weight of a full fuel tank.
  • Note: The weight of a driver and a helper are not included.
  • The tax is for trucks weighing over 8,000 pounds unloaded and tractors weighing over 4,000 pounds unloaded.

The use of overweight vehicles requires careful consideration on the New York State legal system. You need to be careful, not only on the road.  If after reading this you still have any questions about your status or how much you are required to pay, simply reach out to your local NY traffic attorney.


Written By: Benjamin Goldman, An Award Winning Traffic Lawyer in Albany, NY. The Benjamin Goldman Law Office 243 S Allen St Suite 104, Albany, NY 12208 (518) 660-1950

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