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Apportioned Plate Registration

Written by Nick Webster

Published on July 2, 2023, 11:35 a.m.


Apportioned Plate Registration and Motor Carrier Compliance

Here is what apportioned plate registration refers to:

  • Apportioned Plate Registration is a type of license plate registration that allows commercial trucks to travel in multiple states while only paying registration fees in the state they are primarily based.
  • It provides an efficient system for collecting taxes and other fees, as well as simplifying the compliance process for trucking companies.
  • The Federal Highway Administration governs apportioned plates and sets regulations on how they should be issued and used.
  • To obtain an apportioned plate, you must register your truck with the State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and provide proof of insurance, vehicle identification number (VIN), annual weight certificate, etc.

Introduction to Apportioned Plate Registration

Commercial trucking is a dynamic industry, and one of the key aspects that trucking companies and owner-operators must understand is apportioned plate registration. Visit & know about DOT Authority Package .This registration type, governed by the International Registration Plan (IRP), allows commercial vehicles to operate across state or provincial lines. This comprehensive guide will explain the basics of apportioned plate registration and why it's vital for trucking businesses.

What is Apportioned Plate Registration?

Apportioned plate registration is a system of registration for commercial vehicles that travel in two or more member jurisdictions of the IRP. Each member jurisdiction is a state in the U.S., a province in Canada, or the District of Columbia.

Who Needs Apportioned Plates?

Commercial vehicles used for transporting goods or passengers across state or provincial lines require apportioned plates. Do you know about MCS-150? Specifically, if your vehicle has a gross vehicle weight or combined gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds, has three or more axles, or is used in combination when the weight of such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, you will need to register for apportioned plates.

What is the Process of Apportioned Plate Registration?

While the specifics may vary slightly from one jurisdiction to another, the general steps to obtaining apportioned plates are as follows:

  • Establish a Base Jurisdiction

The first step is to establish a base jurisdiction, which is typically where your business is headquartered or where the vehicle is most frequently dispatched, garaged, serviced, or operated.

  • Complete the Necessary Paperwork

Once you've established your base jurisdiction, you will need to fill out the necessary forms for apportioned plate registration. How To Request the DOT PIN Number? This usually includes the IRP-1 form and Schedule A and C form, along with providing necessary documents such as proof of residency or business operation in the jurisdiction, vehicle title, and proof of paid Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT).

  • Determine Your Apportioned Fees

The fees associated with apportioned plate registration are based on the percentage of total miles traveled in each jurisdiction during the reporting period. Know What is DOT SAP Program. These fees are typically prorated based on the percentage of miles you expect to travel in each jurisdiction.

  • Pay the Apportioned Registration Fees

Once you have calculated the apportioned registration fees, you can submit your application and pay the required fees to your base jurisdiction's registration office.

  • Receive Your Apportioned Plates and Cab Card

Upon approval of your application, you will receive your apportioned plates and a cab card listing all the jurisdictions where you are authorized to travel. These items must be carried in the vehicle at all times.

What Are the Benefits of Apportioned Plate Registration?

The key advantages of apportioned plate registration include:

  • Simplified Licensing: Instead of obtaining separate registrations for each jurisdiction where you operate, apportioned plate registration allows you to license your fleet in one jurisdiction.
  • Cost Efficiency: Fees are distributed based on the percentage of miles driven in each jurisdiction, ensuring you only pay for what you use.
  • Increased Operational Flexibility: The ability to operate in multiple jurisdictions with a single registration plate increases operational flexibility and efficiency.
    Maintaining Apportioned Plates

Maintaining your apportioned plates involves renewing your registration annually, reporting any changes in your fleet, and keeping accurate records of miles traveled in each jurisdiction.

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What Is IRP Registration?

In commercial trucking, International Registration Plan (IRP) registration is crucial for businesses operating across multiple jurisdictions. The IRP is an agreement among the 48 contiguous U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the provinces of Canada, which facilitates the collection and distribution of registration fees for commercial motor vehicles traveling between these jurisdictions.

The IRP registration allows commercial vehicle operators to pay registration fees proportionate to the distance traveled in each jurisdiction. This removes the need for separate registrations in each state or province a commercial vehicle might travel through, streamlining operations for carriers that operate in multiple jurisdictions.

Once registered under the IRP creation, a trucking company or an owner-operator receives an apportioned plate for each vehicle in their fleet. These plates, along with a cab card that lists all the jurisdictions where the vehicle is authorized to travel, must be carried in the car at all times.

IRP registration aims to foster and stimulate maximum utilization of the highway system by permitting proportionate registration of vehicle fleets and acknowledging the vehicle registration across different jurisdictions. This approach is adopted to support the economic prosperity and societal advancement across all participating jurisdictions.

Is IRP the Same as IFTA?

The International Registration Plan (IRP) and the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) are both essential components of commercial trucking operations that cross multiple jurisdictions, but they are not the same. While both are agreements between U.S. states and Canadian provinces, they serve different purposes and regulate various aspects of interstate and international commercial transport.

IRP, as previously mentioned, is a cooperative agreement for registering vehicles that travel in two or more member jurisdictions. Under the IRP registration, carriers report the distance their vehicles travel in each jurisdiction and pay registration fees proportionally. This allows commercial carriers to register vehicles in their base jurisdiction, while still legally operating across other IRP jurisdictions.

On the other hand, IFTA is an agreement that simplifies the reporting and payment of fuel taxes by inter-jurisdictional carriers. Like the IRP, IFTA is aimed at improving efficiency and reducing paperwork for carriers operating across state or provincial lines. Under IFTA, fuel taxes are paid to a carrier's base jurisdiction, which then distributes the taxes to other jurisdictions based on the amount of fuel used in those areas.

In summary, while the creation of the IRP and IFTA is vital for interstate and international commercial trucking operations, they regulate different aspects. The IRP focuses on vehicle registration, while the IFTA deals with fuel tax reporting and payment. Both systems aim to streamline processes, reduce administrative burden, and promote efficiency for carriers operating across multiple jurisdictions.


Understanding and properly managing apportioned plate registration is essential for any trucking company or owner-operator operating across state or provincial lines. By familiarizing yourself with the process and maintaining accurate records, you can ensure that your operations remain compliant and cost-effective. Apportioned plate registration may seem complex at first glance, but with this guide and further research, you can navigate the process with ease and confidence.

Maintaining your apportioned plates is crucial to keeping meticulous records of the miles your vehicles travel in each jurisdiction. These records are essential for determining the apportioned fees during the registration renewal process and proving compliance during audits. A disciplined approach to record-keeping can save you time, money, and potential legal troubles in the long run.

Remember, the world of commercial trucking is constantly evolving. Starting a Trucking Company Correctly, and staying informed of changes in regulations and requirements is key to ensuring your business remains competitive and compliant. This applies to all aspects of your operations, including the process of apportioned plate registration.

Apportioned plate registration is more than just a legal requirement—it's a strategic tool that can enhance your business's operational flexibility and efficiency. By understanding and correctly implementing the apportioned plate registration process, you can ensure smoother interstate operations, better manage your fleet, and ultimately drive your business to greater heights.

So, stay diligent, stay informed, and embrace the opportunities of participating in the dynamic commercial trucking industry. Want to know about Dot Audit? With a thorough understanding of apportioned plate registration, you'll be well-equipped to handle this vibrant industry's challenges and opportunities. Remember, every step taken towards understanding and implementing proper registration processes is a step toward the long-term success of your business. So gear up, stay compliant, and drive your business to new horizons!

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Summary: What Is Apportioned Plate Registration?

  • Apportioned plate registration is a special type of registration for vehicles used in interstate commerce.
  • The apportionment process distributes the annual registration fees among two or more states on the percentage of miles traveled in each state total miles traveled.
  • This helps that all vehicle owners pay their fair share of taxes and fees to use roads within their jurisdictions.
  • It encourages interstate commerce, as companies can register vehicles under one unified system regardless of where they are traveling.
  • Companies who qualify for this type of registration must be engaged in cross-border transportation and travel between multiple jurisdictions for business purposes at least four times a year.

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