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    Frequently Asked Questions


    1. What is an Operating Authority?

    Operating Authority is a motor carrier’s right to operate a commercial motor vehicle to transport goods/passengers for – hire. It is a business license for a motor carrier or broker. As a business owner, you need to comply with all federal and state regulations to run your business legally. Also, you need to comply with financial responsibility (e.g., insurance), process agent designations, and MCS-150 completion (for USDOT Number).

    2. What can happen if you operate without an authority?

    If you operate without authority, you risk damaging your own business. Carriers operating without authority or beyond the scope of their authority can be put Out of Service. A company operating without authority is also subject to fines.

    3. What is a USDOT number?

    The USDOT Number is a unique identifier when collecting and monitoring a company’s safety information acquired during compliance reviews, audits, inspections, and crash investigations. The USDOT Number is a unique number for your business used to access your company’s safety information. Also, commercial, intrastate, and unsafe material carriers who haul types and quantities requiring a safety permit, must register for a USDOT Number.

    Need help with filing the documents? DOT Operating Authority’s team is ready to do all the paperwork for you. Give us a call at 1 – 888 – NOW – GETDOT.

    4. Am I required to have a USDOT number?

    You are required to have a USDOT Number if you have a vehicle that:

    • Retains a gross vehicle weight, combination weight, vehicle weight rating, or gross combination weight rating, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) whichever is greater.
    • It is constructed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (driver included) for compensation.
    • It is constructed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, drivers included, and not used to transport passengers for compensation.
    • Used to haul the types and quantities of hazardous materials requiring a safety permit in intrastate commerce (see 49 CFR 385.403).

    For more information read our article “What is a USDOT Number?”

    5. How do I apply for a USDOT number?

    To apply for a USDOT Number, your company must be involved in transportation, traffic, or trade between states, or:

    • between two places in one state, crossing another state;
    • between two places in one state as a part of traffic, trade, or transportation with the point of origin or destination outside of the US.

    We have a free quote that will help you get in touch with DOT Operating Authority. Just fill the quote out and our agents will do the paperwork of getting a USDOT Number at our earliest convenience. You can also contact us by calling (888) 669-4383.

    6. What is an MC number?

    Sometimes, in addition to a USDOT Number, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that a trucking company has an MC Number, which is a type of operating authority as well.

    7. In what cases am I required to have an MC number?

    You need to have an MC Number if your company:

    • provides transportation for passengers in interstate commerce for repayment, that can be direct or indirect;
    • operates as a for – hire carrier in interstate commerce or a broker.

    There are several types of FMCSA authority, such as MC, MX and FF.  Possibly, you are going to need more than one operating authority to be able to run your business legally, depending on what kind of operations you run and what cargo you hold.

    8. How long should I wait to get my MC number?

    If you are a new applicant and do not have a USDOT Number yet, you will be registered through Unified Registration System (URS). In this case, you will need to wait for 20 – 25 business days to get your operating authority. If you are already registered and have a USDOT Number and just want to add operating authority, the process takes longer.

    With DOT Operating Authority it will be simple for you to comply with the FMCSA regulations in every way. Our agents will always provide you with updates and all the information you need. Give us a call at (888) 669-4383.

    9. What is an MX Number and who needs that?

    This is another type of operating authority that is required for Mexico – domiciled motor carriers. If you are crossing the U.S. border, it is a must to have a valid FMCSA authorized MX Number and a FMCSA Certificate of Registration for commercial – zone operations. The time it takes to obtain an MX Number differs, depending on the application submitted and the means by which the application is submitted.

    10. What are the motor carrier authority types?

    Here are the motor carrier operating authority types:

    • Property Broker: an individual or company arranging other people’s property transportation (excluding household goods) for compensation by using a motor carrier. As a Broker of Property, you are not responsible for the property and do not take possession of it.
    • Household Goods Broker: an individual or company arranging other people’s household goods transportation for compensation by using a motor carrier. As a Broker of Household Goods, you are not responsible for the goods.

    You are required to register as a Household Goods Broker if you contribute any of the following:

    – Packing and unpacking items at personal residences
    – Loading and unloading at personal residences

    – Estimates (binding and non-binding)
    – Inventorying

    • US – based Enterprise Carrier of International Cargo: a company that transports international cargo (except for household goods) and has headquarters in the US while it is owned by a Mexican resident.
    • US – based Enterprise Carrier of International Household Goods: a company that transports international household goods and has headquarters in the US while it is owned by a Mexican resident.
    • Property Motor Vehicle: a for-hire motor transporter that hauls controlled cargo, including family products, for repayment.
    • Household Goods Motor Carrier: a for-hire motor transporter that hauls only family products, for repayment. If you are a motor carrier of household goods, you need both liability and cargo insurance to get an authority to operate.
    • Other authorities:

    – Motor Passenger Carrier

    – Non – North America – Domiciled Motor Carrier

    – Freight Forwarder (FF)

    – Mexico-based Carrier for Motor Carrier Authority to Operate beyond US Municipalities and Commercial Zones on the US-Mexico Border (MX)

    – Mexican Certificate of Registration for Foreign Motor Carriers and Foreign Motor Private Carrier.

    • is used to ship the types and quantities of unsafe materials requiring a safety permit in intrastate commerce;
    • has a gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater;
    • is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for repayment (in that case you also need an MC number);
    • transports more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used for transporting passengers for repayment.

    11. What is a California DOT Number?

    The California Department of Transportation Number (CA DOT) is a specific number assigned by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Motor carriers within the state lines of California must have a California DOT Number.  You can either choose between an in-state or out-of-state carrier.

    In-State Carriers: Operate commercial vehicles within the state lines of California. Carriers must have a Motor Carrier Permit, a CA number, and from September 2016 a US DOT number.

    Out of State Carriers: Some Out-of-state carriers must have a Motor Carrier Permit and a CA DOT number in addition to the USDOT number to enter California.

    12. For whom is FF (Freight Forwarder Number) required and what is that?

    Freight Forwarder is a company that is specialized in managing storage and shipping of merchandise. It usually ships under its own bills of loading and its agents or associates at the destination provided for document delivery. Basically, a freight forwarder is a company that manages the importing and exporting of goods. The answer to the question about who needs an FF Number is simple. If you are a freight forwarder then you need an FF Number. You cannot operate without it.

    13. What is a UCR registration?

    Unified Carrier Registration is a base – state program that replaces the Single Registration System. Companies (SSRS) and individuals that operate business motor vehicles interstate are required to register their businesses. The registration should be in the participating state. An annual fee is required as well.

    All the registered members must pay their UCR fee within the state they inhabit primarily. However, some states are not taking part in the program. The following states: Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Wyoming and D.C. If you live in a state that does not take part, it is a must to pay the UCR fee in a neighboring participating state. If you do not pay your UCR fee, it will damage your business.

    14. Who must comply with IRP registration?

    You should register under International Registration Plan if:

    • you have a truck that is over 26,000 pounds GVW;
    • your truck has three or more axles, regardless of weight;
    • it has a power unit and trailer whose joint GVW is more than 26,000 pounds;
    • your vehicle is a part of a declared fleet that operates in Florida and at least one other IRP.

    15. What is a biennial update?

    A carrier or other regulated entity can change their name or address, or other details in their record, they should update their US DOT and operating authority record with FMCSA in a timely manner. Any detail changes must be updated such as an addition of a truck or tractor. In addition, FMCSA takes all entities under its jurisdiction to update their information every two years.

    16. What if I do not update it on time?

    When the time to update comes, you do not want to ignore it or put it off. Failure to update the MCS-150 could result in a $1,000 per day fine for every day it is not renewed, and the fine covers up to $10,000.

    You need to file by last day of:If your USDOT number ends with:

    17. How do I request changes in my registration?

    There is much confusion sometimes regarding the renewal of your registration. If you need to request a reinstating of motor carrier operating authority, you can find help here, at DOT Operating Authority. The exception for this is if you are a passenger carrier that has been put out – of – service (OOS) for being an “imminent hazard,” this can also occur due to a final unsatisfactory safety rating (“UNSAT/UNFIT”). In this case, you cannot reinstate your registration; it is a must that you re-apply for operating authority.

    Please note: before you request a reinstatement, it is mandatory to have your BOC-3 form. Visit our insurance requirements page for more information.

    18. What is a corporation filing?

    Many small details and errors can conclude in a filing failure. This can happen due to misstatements, name issues, or omission. At DOT Operating Authority you can trust your documents with us. Our team will help with all 50 states corporation filing and present your paperwork in the way it should be.

    19. What are the main corporation types?

    Every state has a different set of laws and regulations in place. In most cases, no two states are the same. Due to that, you must get familiar with the set of rules present when dealing with each state’s Corp Filing. To find out what you need to do to form a corporation in your state, choose your state from here.

    Corporations differ from other kinds of business entities. A corporation is an independent legal entity, meaning it is separate from its owners, managers and other people who control it. A limited liability company (LLC) is a legal structure whereby the members of the company cannot be held personally liable for the company’s debts. Limited liability companies are, essentially, hybrid entities that merge the characteristics of a corporation and a partnership, or a sole proprietorship. While the limited liability feature is like that of a corporation, the availability of flow – through taxation to the members of an LLC is a feature of partnerships.

    A C Corporation is a business entity, incomes of which are taxed separately from its owners. The owners are shareholders who choose a board of directors for managing the company. They have limited liability and are not personally liable for their business debts. They also cannot be sued for a corporation’s misdeeds.

    20. In what cases do I pay Highway Use Tax (2290) and what are its exemptions?

    Highway Use Tax, also called heavy vehicle use tax, is an annual fee you should pay if you operate a vehicle with a taxable gross weight of over 55,000 pounds on public highways.

    You can claim the exempt status of your vehicle if it is:

    • a commercial vehicle that travels fewer than 5,000 miles per year;
    • an agriculture vehicle that travels fewer than 7,500 miles per year;
    • not considered a highway motor vehicle – for example, mobile machinery or vehicles for off – highway use;
    • a qualified blood collector vehicle.

    21. When do I file for my quarterly IFTA tax return? 

    Your IFTA tax return must have a postmark before or on the due date when sending it. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the next business day is the final filing date. If you do not receive your return at least 14 days before the due date, call for a replacement.

    Tax Return Reporting Quarters

    • January thru March – April 30
    • April thru June – July 31
    • July thru September – October 31
    • October thru December – January 31

    If you do not file an IFTA quarterly tax return, pay the tax you owe, or file your return by the due date, you may be subject to penalty and interest charges. The penalty is $50, or ten percent of the total net IFTA tax due with your return, whichever is more.

    22. What are the main insurance policy types of FMCSA? How can I comply with them?

    Meeting all the insurance requirements is the main goal in every business, whether you are a motor carrier or a broker. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will only issue an authority after the proper insurance forms have been submitted.

    • Liability insurance – It is a type of motor carrier insurance which is a legal requirement to operate any type of commercial vehicle or truck. This type of insurance coverage benefits you when there is an error by paying for injuries or property damage for the other party.
    • Cargo Insurance – If you transport household goods, it is a legal requirement to ensure your cargo – $5,000 per vehicle. Even if you ship other people’s property, you need to have a reliable insurance policy for your cargo. Loss or damage to some types of cargo can result in huge financial losses to your company. It is always better to purchase an insurance policy that will cover any possible incidents.
    • Physical Damage – This kind of insurance can be purchased in addition to a liability-only insurance policy.

    There are two main types of physical damage coverage available on an insurance policy:

    • Collision insurance
    •  Comprehensive insurance

    Each type only pays for specific causes of damage to your vehicle, and both can be purchased separately. Adding or removing either of these types of coverage could result in increasing or reducing your insurance rates. In conclusion, the more coverage you have, the more your insurance costs.

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