As a business owner, you must comply with several federal and state regulations to run your trucking business legally. We can help you get started by simplifying the process. Whether you are a broker or a carrier, run a small business or a large fleet, BTP Insurance Services has the experience to ensure your business licenses, permits, registration applications, filings, and insurance needs are taken care of.
Getting Started with FMCSA
Under the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. The FMCSA contributes to ensuring safety in the trucking industry through enforcement of safety regulations. One of the first things you’ll need to get started with your trucking company is an operating authority. It is required for most carriers who transport freight or passengers in interstate commerce.
What is an Authority?
The FMCSA grants active authority by issuing Motor Carrier (MC) and USDOT Numbers. These numbers serve as unique identifiers for your trucking company and help the FMCSA conduct audits, monitor safety scores, maintain compliance reviews and more. The FMCSA will not grant active operating authority until it has received proof of insurance directly from an insurance carrier.
Getting Authority: How long will it take?
If everything runs smoothly, an ultimate grant of active operating authority may take approximately 20-25 days, including a ten day period that begins when the authority grant letter is issued and mailed. Once you receive an MC Number, the FMCSA gives a 20-day window to provide proof of insurance. If insurance isn’t filed directly from an insurance carrier within 20 days, you may be given a 60-day extension. If it is not filed after the extension, the FMCSA could cancel your application and you’ll need to repeat the authority filing process and fees again.
New Entrant Basics
When a new USDOT Number is assigned, the carrier becomes a “new entrant” and will be monitored for an 18-month period to ensure the business has established safety management controls. After 18 months with provisional authority, carriers must pass a safety audit to receive permanent active authority.
We have created a License and Registration program to help you get started, stay organized, and maintain renewal registration requirements. Fill out the questionnaire below or give us a call to schedule an appointment with an agent.
Get Your Authority and Start Your Trucking Company Now
Below is a list and description of filing options needed to operate and haul freight.
U.S. Department of Transportation Number (USDOT)
Companies that operate commercial vehicles hauling cargo in interstate commerce with a weight of 10,000 lbs. must register with FMCSA to obtain a USDOT number.The USDOT requires biennial registration; every two years.
Motor Carrier Operating Authority (MC)
In addition to the DOT number, motor carriers are required to obtain an MC number, also known as interstate trucking authority. The MC is required for motor carriers operating for a fee or other compensation transporting federally regulated commodities or passengers in interstate Commerce.
BOC-3 (Process Agents)
The BOC-3 identifies a process agent in each state who may accept service of process on behalf of your company. The FMCSA requires you to have a current BOC-3 on file each year. The filing is due during the anniversary month of your previous BOC-3 filing.
Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)
It is essentially a state revenue program established under federal law. The UCR requires individuals and companies that operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate or international commerce to register their business with a participating state and pay an annual fee based on the size of their fleet. This includes all carriers – private, exempt, or for hire.
International Registration Plan (IRP)
The International Registration Plan (IRP) registers your trucks to haul in every state and must be renewed annually. To register your vehicle(s) and receive your apportioned license plates and cab card(s), you must file IRP paperwork. The Form 2290 must be presented at renewal of combination plates.
The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is a fuel tax report that must be submitted four times a year; it should cover all of a carrier’s qualified vehicles. All registered carriers must maintain records of individual vehicle mileage reports—to be summarized monthly—as well as information of all fuel bought at service stations. If your IFTA Tax return is not filed by its due date, you may be subject to interest and penalty charges.
Tax Return Reporting Quarters Due Dates
- January thru March April 30
- April thru June July 31
- July thru September October 31
- October thru December January 31
Motor carriers operating intrastate commercial motor vehicles with a gross weight of 26,001 lbs. on a road or highway in Texas must register with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Carrier Division. A certificate (TxDMV number) will be issued and is not transferable between carriers and registered and sole proprietors. Motor carriers can update vehicle information, renew certificate, print cab cards through the Motor Carrier Credentialing Systems (MCCS). It renews every year or biennially depending on the registration program selected.
KYU Number (Kentucky Weight Distance Tax Permit)
The KYU number is a tax license issued for the Kentucky Weight Distance Tax. If you operate vehicles having licensed weight greater than 60,000 pounds that travel through Kentucky, you must obtain a KYU Number or file the Kentucky Weight Distance Tax. You must report miles on a quarterly basis.
Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return (Form 2290)
The Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return is a Federal Excise Tax imposed on vehicles operating in public highways with a gross weight of 55,000 lbs or more. Form 2290 is needed for new and renewal registration with Webb County Tax Assessor/Collector for combination and apportioned plates (IRP). Taxes are collected annually and used for highway construction and maintenance.
While this is a lot of information, don’t worry. We are dedicated to help you every step of the way from permits to insurance.
Insurance Best Practice
A best practice to keep you ahead in the process is to identify your units and/or equipment in advance. We will need to know if your are buying or leasing tractors, trucks, and/or trailers. If you are buying, it’s important to know the type of equipment you want so we can begin your insurance application and quoting process.
It’s also a good idea to consider the kind of commodities you want to transport and ensuring this is noted accurately during USDOT registration. Some insurance carriers will postpone quoting if the insurance application does not match the information registered under commodities for the USDOT.
If you’re hiring owner-operators, preparing a lease agreement, having it signed and ready to submit to us is imperative. It would be best to ensure any driver(s) meet the minimum experience and age requirements, as well.