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Understanding IRP

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The American Association of Motor Vehicles Administrators (AAMVA) developed the IRP to promote commerce and interstate truck operations by accrediting commercial vehicle registration to be valid interstate, providing more ease for interstate truck operations.

The International Registration Plan (IRP) is a reciprocity agreement amongst states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, which identifies commercial vehicles' registration provided by other jurisdictions. The IRP fees are based upon the percentage of miles driven in each state. These fees are distributed to the relevant states by the native registered state. Commercial vehicles that travel in multiple states or provinces and are over 26,000 pounds require IRP.

There are two critical types of license plates for commercial trucks under specific requirements: Base plates and Apportioned plates (IRP).

If you know a truck will never leave the state, a base plate is all you will require. When you sign up to register for the plates, you can add or subtract states depending on where you wish to run. The base plates' cost depends on the number of states you sign up for on the registration form and the number of miles you run in each. In some instances, it is more cost-effective to purchase plates from a state you may travel through frequently, even if your company headquarters are in another state.

Suppose you intend to travel through more than one state. In that case, things get a lot more complicated since you will be required to participate in the International Registration Plan, generally referred to by its acronym IRP or apportioned registration. With IRP, an Apportioned License Plate and an Apportioned Cab Card are provided. The card lists the states/provinces in which you have registered your vehicle.

The significant advantage of this plan is that a tractor or carrier only requires one license plate (marked as "Apportioned," "APP," or "ARP") in their home/base state or jurisdiction and also a cab card for each one of their vehicles. A vehicle with an apportioned license plate shows that each jurisdiction is getting its share of registration fees through the IRP irrespective of which state issued the license plate. The cab card indicates which states the carrier is permitted to travel within and the carrier's permitted weight restriction.

When is due and how is it calculated?

The state registration payment for your assigned plate will vary depending on your base state, gross vehicle weight, and the states you request to register. You may calculate the cost using the jurisdictional percentages and fees (where apportionment is present) and the number of vehicles in the fleet. Generally, a GVWR of 80,000 pounds running in all 48 lower states is between $1500 and $2000. However, this might differ depending on your base state.

Each IRP jurisdiction uses a variety of the following items when determining registration fees, including but not limited to:

  • Percentage of miles driven in each jurisdiction
  • Vehicle identification information
  • Maximum GVWR
  • Vehicle Value
  • Vehicle Age
  • Unladen Weight

To figure out the apportioned percentage of any given jurisdiction, divide the distance per jurisdiction by the total traveled distance in the last period. Multiply the apportioned percentage by the respective jurisdiction's fees to calculate the cost per vehicle per state. Then, sum all the fees for each state and that will be your total IRP fee. Your domiciled state will have a form that you need to fill to get apportioned plates.

Just like IFTA, IRP requires that you are tracking how many miles your fleet travels in each state. You can do this on paper by having drivers keep track of it. Obviously, doing it on paper is very error prone. I highly recommend that you use software to do this, your ELD or GPS tracking should be able provide a state miles report.

Shameless plug, if you need software to accurately calculate state miles and provide an audit trail, we can help.

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