ExpressIFTA Blog

Thursday, November 10, 2016

5 Essential Trucker Gadgets

5 Essential Trucker Gadgets
5 Essential Trucker Gadgets
When you’re out there on the road, you might miss a lot of the comforts and gadgetry you can keep back home. I mean, the cab is a tight fit  and you need to optimize your options. So what should you do?

Well, we’ve been keeping an eye out and have come across 5 essential gadgets a trucker can own.

Collapsible Tools


It’s not uncommon for truckers to find themselves in a situation where they may need a shovel or even an ax!

When you need to dig yourself out of the deep end, a collapsible shovel or tool could help you in a pinch.

Of course, you might have a collapsible multi-tool, with an ax, pick, or saw built into it. Whatever you have, if it's compact and can be stored away, you’re in good shape.

Power Inverter


When you install a power inverter, you bring a new level of creature comfort into your cab, which can improve your retention. However, there are also all sorts of considerations that fleets have to account for.

There are all sorts of information you need to know about power inverters - but the main takeaway is that you need to find one that matches your truck’s specifications.

LED TV


Speaking of comforts, installing a small LED TV in your cab could make a world of difference! There are models with built in DVD and Blu-ray players, allowing you to keep up with the latest TV shows and movies.

Best of all, most LED TVs can also work as a computer monitor, so you can either hook a laptop or a small computer into it.

Emergency Weather Radio


With winter ahead of us, it’s not a bad idea to get your hands on an emergency weather radio!

Whether you’re facing a blizzard, tornadoes, or hurricanes, you have plenty of options out there. Your typical weather radio might have weather bands, as well as AM and FM tuners, but they can also come equipped with lights, come with batteries (or) a hand crank, and some can even charge your mobile devices!

Your Smart Phone!


Speaking of mobile devices, we know you probably have one - which means you should check out the host of mobile apps we offer. Whether it’s the ExpressTruckTax app, the ExpressIFTA Calculator App, or using TruckLogics on your phone, we have your transportation business needs covered!

Whatever gadgets you carry, your job as a truck driver has many troubles you’ll have to handle. However, you should know that ExpressIFTA will be here to help you when you need to file your fuel taxes!


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Thursday, November 3, 2016

IFTA Penalties & Audits

IFTA Penalties & Audits
IFTA Penalties & Audits
So another IFTA deadline has come and gone, and you’ve forgotten to file your report and pay your dues. You had every intention to file your report, but you’re busy - we understand.

But that raises the question, what will happen? What should you do? Will you be audited? Let’s talk about it!

Penalties


In most states, you’ll find that the late filing penalty is a flat rate of $50, or 10% of the taxes due — depending on which one is greater. After your first month of late filing penalty, you will be charged .4167% of the tax due every month until the tax amount is paid.

Note: Nevada's penalty for late filing is a $50 flat fee PLUS 10% of the taxes due. Nevada also charges the .4167% of the tax due every month, as well as an administrative late fee of $100 the first time, $500 the second time, $1000 the third time, $1500 the fourth time, $2000 the fifth time, and $2500 for every time after that.

Audits


Whether you’ve already filed your IFTA or you’re running late, the unfortunate news is that you are also at risk for an audit. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get audited but consider it.

  • Non-continuous Jurisdictions: Your trip logs need to show continuity from your starting destination, with every district in between. It’s impossible for a vehicle to begin in North Carolina and suddenly be in Colorado. Auditors will see this as a flashing red sign!
  • Mileage Gaps: If one day ends and your next day doesn’t begin where you left off, this could trigger an audit. This can happen when drivers don’t realize that their personal or leased miles must also be included on the trip logs. 
  • Over-simplified Fuel Calculations: It may be tempting, but it is not okay to split your miles traveled by a set miles per gallon estimate as your MPG will fluctuate over time.
  • Skewed MPG: When your average MPG varies drastically from one quarter to the next, there should be a valid explanation, such as varying road conditions or weights of the loads carried. 
  • Mileage Extremes: The average MPG for a heavy truck is between 5-10 MPG. If your mileage is way off the ranch, you probably have some calculation errors. Some states won’t even let you file your IFTA return until your MPG is within that range.

How to Survive an Audit


If you’re hit with an audit, it’s not the end of the world - it’s just a frustration you want to avoid. We’ve told you who is at risk before, and how you can avoid an audit.

But now you’re getting audited. So what do you do? You want to focus on proactivity, organization, and documentation.

Basically, make sure you have fully detailed, original copies of distance and fuel records at hand that you can access. You should have the following information at hand:

Basic driver and vehicle information:

  • Driver’s name and signature
  • Registrant’s name
  • Vehicle Fleet number
  • Vehicle Identification Number 
  • Trailer number

Trip Information:

  • Start and End dates of the trip
  • Trip Origin and Destination
  • Routes of Travel
  • Odometer/Hubometer readings from start & finish
  • Total Trip Miles/Kilometers
  • Miles/Kilometers by Jurisdiction

Fuel Records must contain the following:

  • Original receipts for each purchase (Copies or scans are not acceptable. Keep them in good condition and do not write on or alter them in any way)
  • Date of purchase
  • Seller’s name and address
  • Number of gallons/liters purchased
  • Fuel type
  • Price per gallon or total of sale
  • Unit numbers 
  • Make, model, and gross weight of the licensed vehicle

Now that we’ve moved on from the 3rd Quarter, it’s time to start focusing on the 4th Quarter. Let’s get through the holidays first, though!

If you have any questions about your IFTA records, reach out to us at 704.234.6005.


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Monday, October 31, 2016

3rd Quarter IFTA Due Today!

3rd Quarter IFTA Due Today!
3rd Quarter IFTA Due Today!
It’s finally here! The 3rd Quarter International Fuel Tax Agreement deadline has arrived! Hopefully, you’ve had a head start and today isn’t a scramble for you, but if so - don’t worry, we got you covered.

With our web-based software, we’re the best option for generating your IFTA taxes online.

The Basics


If you’re hauling between numerous IFTA member states, you need to have that shiny little decal with your base jurisdiction slapped on the side of your cab. Sure, company drivers may have this taken care of for them, but for everyone else, IFTA filing can be a hassle.

The Penalties


If you don’t file your IFTA report on time, you’re going to face IFTA penalties.

In most member states, the late filing penalty is a flat rate fee of $50 or 10% of the taxes due, depending on which is greater in value.

Unless you’re in Nevada, which is the only state whose penalty for late filing is a $50 flat fee plus 10% of the taxes due.

Once you’re receiving a penalty for late filing, you will be charged .4167% of the tax due every month until the tax amount is paid.

Again, Nevada is the outlier to this rule. If your base jurisdiction is Nevada, you’re charged .4167% of the tax due every month, as well as an administrative late fee of $100 the first time, $500 the second time, $1000 the third time, $1500 the fourth time, $2000 the fifth time, and $2500 for every time after that.

The Due Dates


IFTA runs on a quarterly system, which means there are four deadlines throughout a given year. The IFTA due dates are as follows:

  • Q1: January - March, due date of April 30
  • Q2: April - June, due date of July 31
  • Q3: July - September, due date of October 31
  • Q4: October - December, due date of January 31

The Solution


Chances are, if you’re reading this, you need to file an IFTA report. To do that, you’ll have to have your fuel logs, mileage records, and trip logs ready to go.

So if you’re stuck doing the IFTA reporting hustle today, make sure you use ExpressIFTA to have the easiest IFTA quarterly return possible. Have questions? Call our customer support experts at 704.234.6005!


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Friday, October 28, 2016

4 Reasons to Use ExpressIFTA

4 Reasons to Use ExpressIFTA
4 Reasons to Use ExpressIFTA
Will you look at that? The 3rd Quarter IFTA deadline is days away, and you still don’t have a game plan. Well, today is your day! If you didn’t know, there is an IFTA fuel tax reporting software that has all the features you could want to make reporting your fuel taxes a walk in the park.

We’re here to tell you about the top four reasons you should use ExpressIFTA to generate your IFTA reports for 2016!

Well Organized Trip Sheets


Functioning as a trip log for your records, your trip sheet allows you to manage and sort your trips by quarter, total mileage, and fuel type.

With ExpressIFTA, you start by selecting your vehicle, numbering your trip, and inputting the odometer reading at the beginning of the trip. Next, you enter your starting and ending points, along with the corresponding dates, and any information you would like to track - carrier, trailer number, load description.

Simple, Quick Entries


Quick Entries are exactly what they sound like - quick and easy! You simply select your vehicle, and then you can enter your trip details, including state, odometer readings, trip type, fuel purchased, and the assigned driver.

We design our features to make your filing experience all the better!

Upload Everything at Once


When you use ExpressIFA, you can bulk upload your odometer or distance records from an Excel or CSV file with both our Express Upload and Smart Upload features.

With Express Upload, we provide you with a spreadsheet for your distance or odometer records. You just have to follow the onscreen tips and upload the spreadsheet back into our system - with your own information entered, of course.

When you use Smart Upload, you upload your own Excel or CSV template, and our system will format and process it, after your review.

GPS Data Capture


Whether you’re new at filing your IFTA fuel tax, or an old veteran, using your GPS unit to generate your report makes sense. While our software is designed to work with Fleetmatics, we also support many other GPS systems on our back-end - our programmers will just have to pull some strings!

So when you’re ready to create your IFTA report for this quarter, signup (or) login to ExpressIFTA and start reporting your fuel taxes online!


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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

IFTA Deadline: The Fuel Tax Countdown

IFTA Deadline: The Fuel Tax Countdown
IFTA Deadline: The Fuel Tax Countdown
What’s that dreaded feeling you have? Is it the upcoming IFTA deadline? After all, it’s only a few weeks away, Trucking Nation. How can we make sure we’re prepared to report our fuel taxes?

Instead of kicking your responsibilities further down the road, you need to go ahead and file your IFTA fuel tax! Online filing makes things easier, but you still need to meet certain filing requirements.

You need to make sure you understand your mileage keeping requirements, as well as your fuel tax reporting requirements. That might seem like a lot to keep up with. So how can you?

The easiest way to get ready is by going through our fuel tax countdown!

3 Trip Details You Need


Before you start using our IFTA fuel tax reporting software, you will need to gather certain documents - like your trip report details. 

As you enter your IFTA reporting details, you will need to start with your basic trip details. This means your trip origin and destination, including the start and end date of your trip, any additional stops, and your route of travel. Don’t forget, you’ll also need your beginning and ending odometer readings!

After that, you need to enter your total trip miles into our system. This includes both loaded and deadhead miles, as well as any local miles when the units taken in for servicing.

You will also need to enter the miles you traveled in in each jurisdiction!

2 Numbers They Need


In order to generate your IFTA report, you will need your Unit or VIN number, and your fleet number.

This will help the base jurisdiction identify and authorize your fuel tax report.

1 Name for Your Report


Most importantly, you need to make sure your name (or the registrant's name) is filed on your IFTA report, as well.

IFTA Due Date Details


In order for you to avoid IFTA penalties, you're going to have to file by the deadline day - which is October 31st, 2016 this year.

While IFTA reports can be overwhelming, let us help you get through the tough parts, step-by-step. If you’re ready to generate your IFTA report, sign in at ExpressIFTA and let’s get started!


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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

5 Things You Need to Know About 3rd Quarter IFTA

5 Things You Need to Know About 3rd Quarter IFTA
5 Things You Need to Know About 3rd Quarter IFTA
As we reach the 3rd IFTA Quarter deadline, you need to have a game plan by now. If you don’t have one, we still have a few weeks to correct course!

So unless you’re a trucker who works in Alaska or Hawaii, you’re gonna have to pay for IFTA. No matter where you are, you need to file.

1. IFTA Filing Requirements


Of course, to file your IFTA report you will need to have plenty of documents on hand. Your required information includes:

  • Base Jurisdiction: You need to be registered in your base jurisdiction, which is your home state your vehicle is registered in. 
  • Qualified Motor Vehicles: These are designed and used to transport people or property, and also has two axles with a gross/registered weight exceeding 26,000 pounds. Qualified vehicles can also have three or more axles, or have a combination weight exceeding 26,000 pounds. 
  • Fuel Records: You need to have complete fuel records of all motor fuel purchased and used to conduct business, with separate totals compiled for each fuel type. Your receipts should include the date of purchase, name and address of seller, number of gallons or liters received, fuel type, and the vehicle into which the fuel was placed.
  • Mileage Records: The total miles, taxable and nontaxable, traveled by the IFTA licensee’s qualified motor vehicle(s) in all jurisdictions/states, regardless if they participate in IFTA, which includes all trip permit miles;
  • Tax Information: The current tax rates for each member jurisdiction.

2. IFTA Due Date


The 3rd IFTA Quarter runs from July through September, which means the deadline falls on October 31.


Here are the IFTA due dates:

Quarter Periods
IFTA Quarterly Tax Return Due Dates*
Due Dates
1st Quarter
January - March
April 30
2nd Quarter
April - June
July 31
3rd Quarter
July - September
October 31
4th Quarter
October - December
January 31

* If the due date falls on a weekend or a state holiday, the due date is extended to the following business day.

3. IFTA Penalties


You will be charged $50 or 10% of the amount of taxes owed, whichever is greater, as well as revocation of your IFTA license eventually. However, in Nevada you will have to pay a $50 flat fee PLUS 10% of the taxes due.

Starting the month after you receive your original penalty for late filing, you will be charged .4167% of the tax due on a monthly basis until the tax amount is paid.

4. Old School Filing


There are two typical ways drivers may approach their IFTA filing. The first one is to start by heading to www.iftach.org and manually calculating and filing your IFTA report. This is time consuming, and can even be confusing to some (if you’re not versed in tax jargon).

There are CPA's and service providers who will file your IFTA return for you, but if you’re an owner operator trying to keep things affordable, you might want to focus on that.

5. IFTA Filing Software


For simple fuel tax filing, try using IFTA filing software - like ExpressIFTA! As a long time provider of IFTA taxes online, ExpressIFTA can track your mileage, fuel purchases and more, all conveniently in a cloud based system!

For a more in-depth IFTA filing system, TruckLogics is your answer. With ProMiles integration, when you’re recording your trip logs, select ProMiles and your precise trip mileage is automatically recorded. TruckLogics also has billing and invoicing tools, load tracking and check call, and even QuickBooks® integration!

With the IFTA deadline right around the corner, don’t waste your time on some fly-by-night IFTA reporting service. Go with the proven professionals here at ExpressIFTA, or sign up for a free 15-day trial over at TruckLogics.

If you have questions about filing your IFTA return, please contact us and let us help! We're available by phone Monday through Friday, 9am to 6pm at 704.234.6005.


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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How To Prepare for an IFTA Audit?

How To Prepare for an IFTA Audit?
How To Prepare for an IFTA Audit?
Let’s talk about audits! Nobody wants to be audited, not that we need to actually say it, but it’s true.

Of course, you don’t have to always lose sleep over audits. I mean, the idea of filing your IFTA online is supposed to make your life easier. How can we do that?

With the advent of IFTA, the legislation decided that 3% of IFTA license holders will be required to be audited every year.

We talk a lot about IFTA due dates, but we don’t nearly discuss audits enough. With the next IFTA deadline right around the corner, it’s important to audit-proof yourself before it’s too late!

Get Ready With Better Recordkeeping


In an audit, an auditor will request records previously agreed upon, like mileage records, fuel records, and any other requested information related to your IFTA operations.

Throughout the process, an auditor will be looking over your records, including:

  • Individual trip records in detail
  • Calculate trip mileage based on routes of travel using mileage logs and mileage software
  • Examine the continuity of odometer reading to determine total elapsed miles
  • Reconciliation of Mileage Source Documents and Summaries to IFTA quarterly tax returns


What IFTA Records Should I Keep?


The FMCSA requires you to retain at least 6 months for both logs and e-logs, and have the following records available:

  • Fuel Receipts: You have to keep individual records for each type of fuel used, such as retail fuel and bulk fuel purchases. You’ll also need to show date or purchase, where the fuel was purchased from, the amount and type of fuel purchased, price per gallon or the total amount, and the unit numbers the for the truck which fuel was purchased for.
  • Mileage Records: In order to prove the validity of your trip information, you will need to keep track of the mileage on your odometer. Your logs will need to include the mileage of the trip, including the total mileage, total mileage for each trip, and the total mileage traveled in each jurisdiction.
  • Trip Reports: For your distance records, you’ll need to include all of your relevant trip information like the beginning and ending trip dates, trip origin and destination, and the route of travel. When you keep IFTA trip logs, you’ll always have that information ready to go.

If you find yourself in the middle of an IFTA audit, being prepared will make all the difference.

Thankfully, when you report your IFTA return with ExpressIFTA, your records are saved in our cloud-based system, allowing you to access them whenever you need. Avoid the IFTA penalties, file your fuel tax return with ExpressIFTA.

Are you prepared for an IFTA audit? If you have any questions about e-filing for the upcoming 3rd Quarter IFTA filing deadline, give us a call at 704.234.6005. We’d love to hear from you!


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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

RigMinders - Say Goodbye to IFTA Penalties

Say Goodbye to IFTA Penalties
Say Goodbye to IFTA Penalties
Nothing is worse than missing a deadline - that pang of guilt you get in your gut as you realize the due date has come and gone.

It’s even worse when you’re a truck driver, and missing a deadline means you’re gonna get parked. No thank you!

IFTA Deadlines


After every quarter, you have an IFTA deadline you have to meet. As we roll into October, you should know by now that the 3rd Quarter IFTA due date is October 31. Yeah, that’s also Halloween.

Most states penalize for late filing at a flat rate fee of $50 or 10% of the taxes due, whichever is greater. Now, Nevada does things a bit different - their penalty for late filing is a $50 flat fee plus 10% of the taxes due.

If you’re continuously late, you will be charged .4167% of the tax due every month until the tax amount is paid. To no surprise, Nevada is the only exception to this rule. They charge .4167% of the tax due every month as well as an administrative late fee of $100 the first time, $500 the second time, $1000 the third time, $1500 the fourth time, $2000 the fifth time, and $2500 for every time after that. Yikes!

But don’t be scared, because you’re not gonna be late this year.

How to Avoid Late Penalties


So how can you make sure you’ll never miss another deadline? Get RigMinders!

What is RigMinders? It’s a customizable reminder app tailored to transportation professionals. RigMinders comes preloaded with every industry filing deadline you can think of, plus a short description of each deadline.

Start by going to RigMinders.com and signing up—or installing the app on your mobile device.

With RigMinders, you are not only reminded of quarterly fuel tax deadlines, you also get reminders for Form 2290, HazMat license renewal, and your USDOT biennial update. On top of that, you can remind yourself of personal deadlines.



So head on down to RigMinders and download the app today! Don’t forget, if you keep missing your deadlines and your IFTA fuel tax license is revoked - you’re off the road until it’s reinstated!

Once RigMinders lets you know you’re near a deadline, login over at ExpressIFTA and file your quarterly fuel tax return!


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