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May 13, 2022

Deciding Upon The Name Of Your FMCSA Authority – How Critical Is It For Your Business?

Now, if you come to think of it, you must have decided upon a name for your FMCSA authority. You own a trucking business and you want to apply for this authority.

The most practical and basic way to do that is to have a business name first. You can also use a D/B/A which is a “doing business as” name for the purpose. This same D/B/A name also shows on your truck after you obtain your FMCSA authority. 

Then, most of the states across will need you to register the D/B/A name in your local county at your courthouse or the county offices.

You will have to enter your D/B/A name while you apply for FMCSA authority after that. The insurance policy that is associated with this application of yours will show the D/B/A name as well.

This means that the application name and the insurance policy name should match each other.

Incorporating For Your FMCSA Authority

When you decide to register for FMCSA authority/ you can use your personal name or your personal name along with your D/B/A name or you can just choose to become a limited liability company.

You will have to either incorporate or register as an LLC before obtaining your FMCSA authority. There is no point in applying for this authority if you haven’t become an LLC or incorporate your business.

This can create problems for your business while you are applying for your authority. There is the probability that your name may already have been registered or taken by another company with the Secretary of State.

This is why it is important to have a unique name for your company as you register for your FMCSA authority.

Limiting Your Liability Before You Request For Your FMCSA Authority

It is possible to limit your personal liability as you apply for your FMCSA authority just by becoming an LLC or incorporating your business. This means that your personal assets will remain untouched if your business needs to be dissolved or sold off to pay any of your debts.

This does not mean that your business will get protected from any kind of liability but your personal assets will get enough protection.  

If you ever face a liability lawsuit in the future, your personal assets will remain protected. You must also obtain a federal identification number as you register the LLC with the Secretary of State.

Remember that whatever name you choose for your trucking business should be absolutely unique and should not resemble any of the companies that are already registered.

USDOT Number And The Confusion Attached To It

Remember that the entire incorporation process needs to be completed before you apply for your FMCSA authority. You must also consider a few other things such as your USDOT number.

This number is usually going to be in your personal name. What you can do is assign this to the LLC or the corporate name. As you apply for your FMCSA authority, you can also get a separate USDOT number for the LLC.

In case you have an IRP license plate, and assuming that it is in your name, the plate and the USDOT number associated with your personal name are going to go together.

You can assign the US DOT number to the newly incorporated company when you apply for your FMCSA authority. You will be moving your US DOT number from one legal entity to another. After this, the new LLC or the incorporated business is going to have its own EIN federal ID number.

There can be confusion with your IRP license plate If you are using the same USDOT number associated with your personal name.

After transferring it to your corporate name, you will no longer have that number assigned to your personal name.

Because you need this number for your IRP license plate, this could create a little bit of a problem for you. The only solution is to get a new USDOT number in the name of the LLC before you apply for your FMCSA authority. You can keep your current USDOT number in your personal name.

Employer Identification Number And Your FMCSA Authority

If you are in the process of requesting your FMCSA authority, you will need an EIN. You will also need this employer identification number to be able to file the 2290 federal highway use tax.

Most registered trucking companies with license plates of 55,000 LBS or above usually have their federal ID number with them. They use the same to file the 2290 federal Highway use tax. You will need a separate EIN number if you are going to establish your LLC.

The Practical option is to apply for a unique EIN number for your LLC before you apply for FMCSA authority.

Your IRP License Plate And FMCSA Authority

You are probably thinking about crossing state lines when you apply for your FMCSA authority.

Whether it is a van, truck, pickup truck, trailer combination, or any other automobile apparatus 26,000 lbs or below loaded, you do not need an IRP. 

After having obtained your authority, if you have a three-axle truck and if you want to cross state lines regardless of the weight of the vehicle, you will need an IRP which is also an apportioned license plate.

After obtaining your FMCSA authority, you might have a truck or a truck and trailer, a combination, or any other automobile that has a weight of over 26,000 LBS.

If you intend to cross state lines with that, you will need to register for an IRP right away. If you are looking to cross state lines on your own, you will need your FMCSA authority.

This means that you are either a private carrier or a for-hire carrier hauling exempt commodities.

The same applies to for-hire registrants leased to a trucking company or a for-hire carrier who has his own FMCSA authority before the IRP plate is issued.

International Fuel Tax Agreement With Your FMCSA Authority

If you have an IRP license plate when you are applying for your FMCSA authority, you also need to apply for your IFTA fuel tax. Then file your reports quarterly once you obtain your authority and /have signed up for your IFTA fuel tax.

Before starting hauling loads, you must decide upon reporting schedule for the fuel tax. You also need to keep accurate records of all the trips you have made throughout the year.

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