In order to meet the FMCSA’s requirements and operate within the bounds of the law, you must have the right credentials. One such essential credential is the MC number. Let’s break down the essential steps in acquiring an MC number, for your trucking business.
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What is a MC number?
The MC number is issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a key regulatory body overseeing commercial vehicle operations in the United States, to all interstate carriers. It serves as a license to legally operate your business across the states. It is also called an operating or trucking authority.
Determine Your Eligibility
Before applying for an MC number, it’s important to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria set by the FMCSA. Typically, carriers involved in transporting goods across state lines or operating vehicles with a gross weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more are required to obtain an MC number.
Who doesn’t need an MC number?
Carriers who doesn’t need an MC authority are
- Private carriers
- For-hire carriers who haul exempt goods
- Intrastate carriers
- Carriers who operate in zones that have been approved by the federal government
How to get MC number?
1. Get an EIN number
The first step is to decide on what kind of business you want to operate. It could be a sole-proprietorship, an LLC, or a corporation. After you decide on that, apply for Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS website for free.
2. Apply for USDOT and MC number
If you are planning to operate as an interstate carrier, you’ll need both USDOT and an MC number. USDOT is free while MC number costs you $300. Follow the instructions on the URS (Unified Registration System) page to receive your USDOT number. You’ll be needing your truck information, such as VIN, year, weight, and so on, as well as incorporation details to get the MC number. The USDOT number will be issued immediately, while it takes at least a week to get your MC number.
You do not need both USDOT and an MC number to operate as an intrastate carrier. While most states require you to have USDOT, some states like Arkansas, Illinois, do not require it. But it’s highly recommended to get one as it’s free of cost.
3. Activate your MC number
In order to activate your MC number you must need BOC-3 and insurance on file.
As an interstate carrier you must have an agent in every state that you operate who can carry out legal paperwork on your behalf. The FMCSA has a list of process agents who can complete this file correctly. These agents can demand anywhere between $50 – $300 dollars.
Although FMCSA requires just $750,000 dollars in liability insurance, in reality if you want to work with the freight brokers, you’ll be needing $1M in liability insurance and $100,000 in cargo insurance. FMCSA grants 90 days to file BOC-3 and insurance with them. If you fail to do so, you’ll be given another 1 year to complete your filings. If you still didn’t complete it, your application will be permanently dismissed.
In some states insurance may be required for intrastate carriers.
5. Other requirements
File your UCR
Interstate carriers must register with the UCR or the UnifiedCarrier Registration and as of 2024 it costs $37 for 0 to 2 vehicles.
Both intrastate and interstate carriers need to e-file form 2290 if your vehicle’s gross weight is 55,000 pounds or more. It is also called Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT). The tax rate varies. For 55,000 pounds it is $100.
Interstate carriers must enroll in the International Registration Plan (IRP), which is a cooperative agreement among 48 U.S. states and Canada. This plan enables carriers to register their vehicles in a single jurisdiction and then pay proportionate license fees, permitting them to operate in various jurisdictions. The IRP fees vary. In Delaware for 25000 mileage it is $1390.
Interstate carriers operating Qualified Motor Vehicle (QMV) in two or more member jurisdictions are subject to IFTA. IFTA is a cooperative agreement among US states and Canadian provinces. Instead of paying tax in the states where the fuel is bought, IFTA helps pay tax where the fuel is used. You must set up and start filing your quarterly IFTA taxes. IFTA registration fees vary based on the jurisdiction. In California there is a $10 annual fee and a $2.00 fee for each set of decals.
Apart from the above there may be separate state permits for both interstate and intrastate carriers.
Summary of MC number requirements
|USDOT and MC number
|Any other state permits
|Any other state permits
These are the straightforward steps to get your MC number. Getting your MC number can be hectic and involves a lot of steps. You can do it yourself or approach a professional. If you are looking for a trusted source always refer to DAT’s official website.
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