ExpressIFTA Blog

Thursday, July 19, 2012

All about International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA Tax Return)

The International Fuel Tax Agreement (or IFTA) is an agreement between the lower 48 states of the United States and the Canadian provinces (except Northwestern Territories, Nunavut and Yukon), to simplify the reporting of fuel use by motor carriers that operate in more than one jurisdiction. This simplifies the process of reporting quarterly fuel taxreturns.

This tax is required for motor vehicles used, designed, or maintained for transportation of persons or property and:


1. Having two axles and a gross vehicle weight rating or registered gross vehicle weight in excess of 26,000 pounds, and/or  


2. Having three or more axles regardless of weight, and/or   


3. Is used in combination, when the weight of such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds gross vehicle or registered gross vehicle weight.

Exceptions exist for Recreational Vehicles (such as motor homes, pickup trucks with attached campers, and buses when used exclusively for personal pleasure by an individual). Some states have their own exemptions that may apply to farm vehicles or government vehicles, so check your state for their specific exemptions.

The IFTA license offers several benefits to the interstate/inter-jurisdictional motor carrier. These benefits include one license, one set of decals per vehicle, one quarterly fuel tax report for all vehicles that reflects the net tax or refund due. Tax returns are required even if no operations were conducted or no taxable fuel was used during the reporting period. Returns that are not filed or not paid in full are considered late and will be assessed penalty and interest.

When filing a tax return, a licensee may apply the fuel overpayment generated in one jurisdiction to the taxes owed for another jurisdiction. These advantages result in cost and time savings for the carrier and the member jurisdictions.

Under IFTA, you are able to file one return in your base jurisdiction and that jurisdiction will allocate the money appropriately. This agreement definitely simplified what used to be a very long and time-consuming process. With ExpressIFTA you can quickly and easily keep track of your mileage, fuel purchases and more. 

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