Trouble Getting Your Tags?

I talk to drivers every summer who are struggling to get their truck registration renewed. June is an especially bad month because it seems that some states require the 2290 before it’s even available for filing.

This has always bothered me, because it doesn’t make any sense. I’ve spent countless hours arguing with tag offices and DMVs because they can’t require a document that isn’t available yet!! They can’t require something that isn’t due!!  As Spock would say, “It is quite illogical.”

In the past if my arguing didn’t work for drivers, I’ve advised them to call the IRS to complain about their local tag office or DMV, to see if the IRS would intercede for the driver. That only gets people so far, and for many, it’s not far enough.

But just yesterday, I finally found the legal code that backs up the logic we knew all along (would that make Spock happy?). It seems that logic and practical information do in fact prevail, even at the tag office.

The Logic is Right

I found the IRS legal code that (believe it or not) mirrors the logic. It says that if your truck registration is due in July, August, or September, your local state tag office is required to accept the previous years Form 2290. They cannot ask you for the year that has just started.

The Law Says

The Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2011-35 talks about Section 4481 of the Internal Revenue Code. It gives general guidelines about filing Form 2290.

Section 41.6001-2(b) states:

“The taxpayer generally must present proof of payment for the taxable period that includes the date on which the application for registration is filed, but in the case of an application filed in July, August or September proof of payment for the preceding taxable period may be used.”

Roughly Translated: if your registration is due during the summer, you’re allowed to use your Form 2290 from the previous year. Even though that 2290 is expired.

If this situation describes you, or anyone you know, please print this article and take it with you to the tag office. Hand it to them if they have a problem with your Form 2290.

It Gets Even Better

 The IRS Form 2290 Instructions now say the same thing. If you register in the summer, the state must take last year’s form 2290.

Precisely Translated

If you’ve read anything I’ve written before, you know I like examples, so here comes one!

Pretend it’s way back in the year 2000. If your registration is due July 1, 2000 then the tag office would be required to accept the Form 2290 with the tax year 1999-2000 on the top. They cannot ask you for the tax year 2000-2001 that just began the same day your registration is due.

Tag offices don’t have to accept 1998-1999, because that’s two tax years ago. But 1999-2000 is fair game even though it expired June 30, 2000, the day before your registration is due.

What does this really mean?

It means that you have a reasonable amount of time to file Form 2290. It means that logic prevailed! It means that when the tag office is being unreasonable, you can MAKE them be reasonable. It’s the LAW – and they have to abide by it just like the rest of us!

If your registration is due in June, July, August or September, it means things are about to get better.

Written by Casey Jenkins