According to Florida Statute 320.01(26), a ‘COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE’ is a vehicle not owned by the government, with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 26,001 lbs. or more, or has three or more axles regardless of weight, or is used in combination (vehicle plus trailer) when the weight of such combination exceeds 26,001 pounds gross vehicle weight.
Note: If the empty weight is 5,000 lbs or less, the truck is not considered a commercial motor vehicle. The registration would be based on net (empty) weight, and the GVW would not be required.
A commercial motor vehicle is subject to the following statutory requirements, depending on the GVW declared (or if it has three or more axles) and whether it is used for intrastate travel (within Florida only) or interstate travel (between Florida and any other state). For further information on commercial motor vehicles, please see DMV Procedure RS-45 on the DHSMV website.
A heavy truck is defined as a vehicle weighing more than 5,000 lbs, registered on the basis of gross vehicle weight and used to carry or pull (with a trailer) goods other than the personal effects of the passengers.
If the empty weight exceeds 5,000, and the GVW is 26,000 or less (26,001 or less for a truck-trailer combination), the heavy truck registration is based on the GVW, which must be declared by the owner upon registration. These trucks are not considered commercial vehicles. One plate is issued, and it is displayed on the rear of the vehicle.
If the declared GVW is 26,001-80,000 lbs (26,002-80,000 for a truck/trailer combo), the heavy truck is considered a commercial vehicle. If the vehicle travels intrastate (only in Florida), two plates are issued, and the plate displaying the decal is attached to the front of the vehicle.
If the vehicle is a truck-tractor or tractor, it will be issued one plate, which is displayed on the front of the vehicle.
It is the owner/operator’s responsibility to ensure that the declared GWV remains accurate throughout the registration period. If the declared GVW needs to be changed (i.e., increased) at any time during the registration period, please contact our office for information and instructions.
A half-year rate may be requested when the GVW is between 15,000-80,000 lbs. The semi-annual registration periods are Dec. 1 to May 31 and June 1 to Dec. 31.
If the vehicle’s empty weight is 5,001-7,999 lbs., you may declare the GVW for the truck only (do not add the GVW of a trailer you may be towing).
If the vehicle’s empty weight is 8,000 lbs. or more, you must declare the combined GVW of the vehicle and any trailer you may be towing.
Commercial Driver License Requirement
If you operate a vehicle with a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating), declared weight, or actual weight (whichever is greatest) of 26,001 pounds or more, transport hazardous materials, or carry 15 or more passengers (including the driver), you will need a CDL (Commercial Driver License) and all applicable endorsements. For additional information on CDL licenses and endorsements, please visit the Division of Driver License information page.
For detailed information on commercial motor vehicle insurance requirements, please see DMV Procedure RS-33 on the DHSMV website.
Combined bodily liability and property damage liability (Combined Single Limit-CSL) coverage amounts required are based on the declared GVW. When registering, you will need to show your policy listing the actual amount of CSL coverage
- 26,001-34,999 lbs GVW = $50,000 coverage
- 35,000-43,999 lbs GVW = $100,000 coverage
- 44,000-80,000 lbs GVW = $300,000 coverage
Note: A split limit policy is acceptable if the policy limits meet or exceed required coverage. Vehicles with a GVW of 10,000 pounds or more which transport hazardous materials, as well as all for-hire interstate carriers, are required to carry $750,000 CSL coverage.
Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT)
For detailed information on HVUT, please see DMV Procedure RS-34 on the DHSMV website.
If the declared GVW is 55,000 lbs. or more, proof of filing, payment, or exemption of HVUT (Heavy Vehicle Use Tax) must be shown prior to issuance of a registration. Heavy trucks involved in intrastate commerce (only driven inFlorida) and interstate commerce (driven in Florida and any other state) are both subject to HVUT. The owner should complete IRS Form 2290 (Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return), including Schedule 1 (Schedule of Heavy Highway Vehicles), and submit payment to the IRS. Visit IRS Online Forms and Publications to access these forms directly from the IRS website.
Note: If the vehicle was purchased within the past 60 days, the new owner is not required to show proof of payment of HVUT for the issuance of the first registration.
International Registration Plan
For further information on IRP requirements, please see FAQ’s about IRP on the DHSMV website. A detailed IRP Trucking Manual is also available.
IRP vehicles are commercial motor vehicles engaged in interstate travel (traveling between Florida and any other state). These vehicles must display apportioned license plates, which are issued by the Bureau of Motor Carrier Services (MCS) in Tallahassee. Application for apportioned license plates are made on HSMV form 85900, which includes instructions. Application forms and information are available att DHSMV’s online forms page. All applications, renewals, additions, and corrections for apportioned license plates should be submitted to:
Division of Motor Vehicles
Bureau of Motor Carrier Services
Neil Kirkman Bldg Room A-110
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0626
General information regarding apportioned license plates may be obtained through our office at 727-464-7777.
The fees for an apportioned plate are calculated by GVW (or combined GVW) times the percentage of miles driven in a particular state. Since these calculations are done by means of a computerized system at the MCS office inTallahassee, the Tax Collector’s office is not able to provide price quotations or estimates.
For information on apportioned registration fees, detailed questions, issues with apportioned license plates or requirements, please contact the Bureau of Motor Carrier Services directly at 850-488-6921.
International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)
The IFTA program is administered by the Bureau of Motor Carrier Services. Only those vehicles engaged in interstate travel would be affected by IFTA requirements. Please refer to Chapter 207 of the Florida Statutes for a description of the vehicles affected by this agreement.