FAQs - Sales and Use Tax

Who is entitled to claim exemption from sales tax based on the "Highway Transportation for Hire" (TH) exemption?

Those individuals who are being paid to transport personal property belonging to others over the highways are deemed to be engaged in highway transportation for hire. These individuals must be regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) or under Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) rules and must provide the permit number issued by PUCO (PUCO XXXXXX) or under ICC (ICC XXXXXX or MC XXXXXX) rules as part of their claim for exemption.

Generally, the owner of the motor vehicle is the one who holds the PUCO or ICC/MC permit. However, the owner of the motor vehicle could be under contract with the PUCO/ICC/MC permit holder.  When the owner of a motor vehicle being used in highway transportation for hire is not the permit holder, the owner must provide a copy of the contract, which authorizes the owner to operate the vehicle under the PUCO/ICC/MC permit number.

Any motor vehicle (tractor/trailer rig, pick-up truck, automobile, van, sport utility vehicle and/or motorcycle) could qualify for the TH exemption if it is primarily used in highway transportation for hire. If the motor vehicle is use primarily as a parts vehicle or a vehicle used to transport drivers, it does not qualify for the exemption.

Effective July 1, 2003, tow-truck operators are required to be registered with the PUCO. Therefore, if they are transporting goods that belong to others, they may use the Highway Transportation for Hire (TH) exemption code. They need to provide their PUCO number or their ICC/MC permit on the exemption certificate.

The Highway Transportation for Hire exemption does not apply to those who are in the business of transporting people. For example, it does not cover bus companies, taxicab companies or limousine services.

This exemption does not apply to all-purpose vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, watercraft and outboard motors since they cannot be used to transport items over the highway.

The USDOT number cannot be used to qualify for the TH exemption as these individuals are hauling their own inventory/personal property so they are not engaged in highway transportation for hire.