Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Obtain Your Operating Authority: Follow this Checklist

Are you ready and rarin’ to hit the open road?

If starting a transportation company is what you fancy, then you’ve come to the right place!

To obtain your interstate or intrastate operating authority, make sure you have everything on this list covered, and then nothing will be holding you back.


Issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the USDOT# serves as your vehicle’s identification for compliance reviews and more. 

The DOT# is required for your vehicles if 1. You operate interstate (across state and international lines), 2. You transport passengers or cargo, and 3. Your vehicle has a total gross or combined weight of 10,000 lbs or more. If you meet all 3 of these criteria, you must register with the FMCSA and obtain a DOT#.

There are exceptions, however. Many states now require intrastate carriers to also have DOT#’s, especially if you transport hazmat.


Also granted by the FMCSA, the MC# is the authority issued to interstate for-hire carriers. Additional authorities (FF or MX numbers) may need to be obtained depending on your business’s operations and cargo. TSNAmerica can help you determine which authority is needed for your business.


The blanket of coverage, known as BOC-3, must be filed with the FMCSA before your MC# will be activated. The BOC-3 designates process agents in all states that your business operates, and these process agents accept legal papers in your absence. TSNAmerica is an FMCSA registered blanket agent, so we can file your BOC-3 directly with the FMCSA, same day. No third party involvement.


The Unified Carrier Registration is a federally-mandated, state-administered program for the registration of interstate carriers in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Like the DOT#, UCR is required for vehicles weighing 10,001 lbs or more. This license must be renewed annually, and businesses will be charged an annual fee based on the number of vehicles they own or lease long-term.


The International Registration Plan is required for all interstate carriers with vehicles weighing over 26,000 lbs or with 3 or more axles. IRP licenses must be renewed each year, but the deadlines vary by state and are often staggered based on the month in which you first registered. If you aren’t sure when your renewal is due, just give us a quick call and we can help you sort it out.


The International Fuel Tax Agreement is required for all interstate carriers with vehicles that weigh over 26,000 lbs or have 3 or more axles. Not only must this license be renewed annually, but registrants are required to submit quarterly reports of their mileage and fuel use broken down by state. Any fuel tax owed must also be submitted at the time of filing. To determine which state is your base jurisdiction and for tips on proper IFTA recordkeeping, just ask TSNAmerica for assistance.


Heavy vehicle use tax is an annual federal tax levied on commercial vehicles that weigh 55,000 lbs or more and that travel at least 5,000 miles on public highways throughout the year. Whether you’re an interstate or intrastate carrier, you must pay your annual HVUT if your vehicle meets the criteria above. After filing, you’ll receive a stamped Schedule 1 as confirmation. This is one piece of paper you want to keep on hand as a current stamped Schedule 1 is required to renew your tags, renew UCR, and more.

To pay your HVUT, you can either E-file your Form 2290 or have TSNAmerica do it for you! We can even file your HVUT over the phone by just collecting a few key pieces of information.

Intrastate Authority

If you stay entirely within the boundaries of your state (intrastate only), then most of the above will not apply to you, except for the DOT#. Many states now require DOT#’s for intrastate for-hire carriers.
It’s also possible that your state has an additional state use tax: New York, Oregon, Kentucky, and New Mexico all do. We can help you register for this state tax and keep up with the quarterly and annual filings. 

Once you make it through the hurdles of initially obtaining your authority, then comes the work of maintaining your authority correctly. The USDOT# must be updated biennially, IFTA and UCR registrations renewed annually, and IFTA reports filed quarterly.

That’s why at Truck Services of North America our mission is to stay with your business for the long haul. We won’t just set up your authority and leave you to figure the rest out. We stick with you and ensure that your business remains up-to-date on all registrations, permits, and taxes.

To see how we can help you establish and maintain your business, view our service packages at Then call us at our headquarters in Rock Hill, SC at 803.386.0320 or shoot us an email at

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