By Bob Pitcher, State Laws Newsletter
Annual registration for the Unified Carrier Registration program by motor carriers and other businesses subject to it commonly begins on October 1 for the following year. Not this time! Like last year, with the 2018 registration season, 2019 registration has been delayed. And for the same reason: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in the process of adjusting the UCR fees downwards and has not yet issued the necessary final rule to accomplish that change.
The reduction in fees for 2018, readers will recall, was on the order of 9 percent; this year’s decrease – for 2019, will be somewhat larger, more than 10 percent. The cause of the lower fees is the same, however: UCR is collecting more money than the federal law authorizing the program allows, and the surplus must be returned to the industry in lower charges.
The UCR Board of Directors is cautiously predicting that the FMCSA rulemaking will be published and effective in November, allowing registration to proceed at that time. State enforcement will not begin until 90 days after the rule is made final. In the meantime, and despite invitations being sent out by various third parties – UCR registration for 2019 is NOT open, and carriers should hold off until it is.
Readers might be reminded that the easiest way to register is through UCR’s national online system. That too, however, has changed. As of today, the UCR system operated for UCR for some years by the Indiana Department of Revenue, is closing down, and will be replaced immediately by a system run by the UCR program itself. You can get to it at www.ucr.gov. And the system is still accepting late registrations for 2018.