Base State FAQs

Corrina Peterson, Editor - Transport

September 19, 2023

trucks on highway

Question: Why do we have to choose a base state?

Answer: The base state approach simplifies compliance by eliminating the need to report operations, register vehicles, and pay fuel taxes to multiple states for every vehicle operated by the carrier. Interstate motor carriers must indicate a base state of operations under several reporting programs, including:

  • Unified Carrier Registration (UCR),
  • International Registration Plan (IRP), and
  • International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA).


Question: How do we choose a base state under UCR?

Answer: Nearly all carriers engaged in interstate commerce are subject to the UCR program. Each carrier must register, report fleet size, and pay fees annually to its base state. However, not all states participate in UCR. But even though a carrier’s base state doesn’t participate, they must still register under UCR.

Under this program, choose your base state according to the following table:



The principal place of business is in a participating state

That state will serve as the carrier’s base state.

The principal place of business is not located in a participating state

Any participating state in which the carrier maintains an office or operating facility may serve as its base state.

The carrier does not have a principal place of business, office, or operating facility in any participating state

The participating state that is nearest to the location of the carrier’s principal place of business may be the base state, or the carrier may select any participating state within their FMCSA region.


Question: What is our base state when we register vehicles with apportioned plates?

Answer: Instead of registering commercial vehicles in every state in which they travel, carriers can register their trucks in the base state and have the registration recognized by all jurisdictions. 

Under IRP, base jurisdiction means the jurisdiction (state or province) where:

  • The carrier has an established place of business,
  • Mileage is accrued by the fleet, and
  • Operational records of the fleet are maintained or can be made available.


Question: What is our base state for fuel tax reporting?

Answer: Rather than each state having its own fuel tax regulations, IFTA allows carriers to maintain one license, carry one set of fuel credentials, and file quarterly tax returns with a base state.

Under IFTA, base jurisdiction means the member jurisdiction where qualified motor vehicles are based for vehicle registration purposes.

Our team can make it easy to keep your company compliant with complex motor carrier tax and registration requirements, state IFTA and IRP requirements, and fuel tax reporting obligations, plus help reduce your audit risk. We'll apply our expertise to ensuring that your vehicles are legal and improving the accuracy and integrity of your fuel and mileage tax data.