ExpressIFTA Blog

Friday, November 30, 2012

IFTA Fuel Tax Preparation Made Easy With ExpressIFTA

The International Fuel Tax Agreement requires all qualified motor vehicles to file an IFTA return each quarter if the qualifying heavy vehicles were operating in at least 2 of the IFTA member jurisdictions. The IFTA jurisdictions include the 48 contiguous states of the US and 10 Canadian provinces.

Vehicles operating within these jurisdictions must have an IFTA license and file a quarterly IFTA return with their base jurisdiction. A vehicle’s base jurisdiction is the state or province in which the vehicle is registered. The most common error on an IFTA Quarterly Tax Return is mistakes in math calculations. ExpressIFTA.com has made the process of completing trip sheets and entering fuel purchases much easier and more accurate. ExpressIFTA allows you to create an IFTA return online in minutes!



Steps to prepare your IFTA Return:


  1. Set Up / Log Into Your Account


  • If you already use Express Truck Tax to file your Form 2290, when you log into your ExpressTruckTax account, you will see an IFTA button at the top of the page. Select this option, and click Go to IFTA. This will automatically register you with an ExpressIFTA Account. To Get Started, Click Begin.
  • If you have not yet used our program, simply create an account with ExpressIFTA, all you need to do is enter basic information about the filing party such as contact information and EIN. You will also be asked to enter your base jurisdiction and IFTA license number.
  • Once the business information is entered, you can select the units of measurement that you will be using (such as miles, kilometers, gallons, liters, etc.). For the vehicles on the IFTA return a unit number, gross weight, vehicle type, fuel type, and VIN number can be entered.


  1. Enter Mileage And Fuel Purchased


  • It can be entered manually, or an excel file can be uploaded to automatically record this. Using the excel upload can significantly cut down on the amount of time that it takes to submit this information. If you have records of your trips and would like to enter them manually, all that is needed is the State, Odometer reading, and amount of fuel purchased for each trip.


  1. Generate IFTA Return


  • The system will then run a diagnostic report to review any possible errors on the IFTA return based on the estimated Miles per Gallon. This audit of information does not guarantee that the IFTA return will be accepted.  It simply checks for basic errors that could have otherwise been overlooked.

The best part about organizing the IFTA return online is that our system automatically calculates the amount due based on all of the previous data entered. There is no need to get frustrated over complicated tax calculations.

You will be able to complete this form online through our program within minutes and send it to your base jurisdiction. To find out more about IFTA filing or get started today, contact our friendly Express Tax Support Center in Rock Hill, SC  at 704.234.6005 between the hours of 8am – 6pm EST, Monday through Friday or email us at support@expressIFTA.com.

 
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What is IFTA?

“IFTA” stands for International Fuel Tax Agreement, which represents a tax collection agreement among the 48 contiguous United States and its 10 bordering Canadian Provinces.Owners of qualified heavy highway motor vehicles that operate in at least 2 out of the 58 total jurisdictions must file IFTA on a quarterly basis.  


Reasons for IFTA:

IFTA’s official purpose according to the International Fuel Tax Agreement is “to promote and encourage the fullest and most efficient possible use of the highway system by making uniform the administration of motor fuels use taxation laws with respect to qualified member vehicles operated in multiple member jurisdictions.” When an IFTA form is filed with the appropriate jurisdiction, The Fuel Tax Report is then used to determine the tax amount due as well as the refund due.

It is also used for redistributing collections from the jurisdictions that received IFTA payments, and the jurisdictions that deserved some. One of the reasons for the Fuel Tax is to ensure that a vehicle pays taxes to all deserving jurisdictions. For Example: if a vehicle travels through a state, but buys no gas while in that state, then there was no fuel tax paid to that state through the purchase of gasoline. Part of their tax would then be redistributed to the state that received no fuel tax through the purchase of gasoline.

Any vehicle is considered to be a qualified motor vehicle if it is used, designed, or maintained for the purpose of transportation of persons or property and has a registered gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds. Also, any vehicle with 3 axles or more is considered to be a qualified motor vehicle regardless of weight. Finally, if the combined weight of all of its parts is greater than 26,000 pounds, it is also considered to be a qualified motor vehicle.

Each state or province has a different rate and those rates can change each quarter. The state or province in which the vehicle is registered is considered to be its Base Jurisdiction. A Quarterly IFTA Return must be filed with the vehicle’s respective jurisdiction each quarter. Every driver must keep a trip log of how many miles are traveled in each state or province, as well as how much fuel was purchased in each state or province. This information can be kept on what are commonly referred to as trip sheets, or trip logs.

Since the data required filing IFTA is so incredibly detailed, many people receive Audits of their IFTA information. Proper record keeping can ease the audit process.  ExpressIFTA.com will check for basic mistakes and discrepancies, as well as perform a state adjacency check and an abnormal MPG audit. They also provide online trip sheets for drivers to keep accurate records that can be accessed from any computer, anywhere!  You can prevent an audit due to simple mistakes on an IFTA return by using ExpressIFTA help you keep accurate records.

To get started simply create an account and begin entering your trip sheet information. If you have any questions along the way, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly Express Tax Support Center in Rock Hill, SC  at 704.234.6005 between the hours of 8am – 6pm EST, Monday through Friday or email us at support@expressIFTA.com.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Tips To Help You Prepare Your 4th Quarter IFTA Return

The deadline to file your 4th Quarter IFTA Return is January 31, 2013. A Quarterly IFTA Tax Return must be filed even if the licensee does not operate or purchase any taxable fuel in an IFTA member jurisdiction during the specific quarter.

If you travel in New York, Kentucky, New Mexico, or Oregon you will also need to file their Weight Distance Tax Return.

What you need:
  1. Mileage log-whether you use manual trip sheets, GPS, or electronic trip sheets; it is not only necessary to have in order to file your quarterly IFTA Return, but you will need these if you are ever audited.
  2. Fuel Receipts - you will need to know how many gallons of fuel were purchased in each state.  You will need to separate your mileage and fuel records for each fuel type.
Options to prepare and file your return:
  1. Doing it yourself, you can calculate your own return by hand and mail or e-file the return. To find out the current tax rate for each state go to http://www.iftach.org.
  2. Using a software program that will calculate your return for you, like ExpressIFTA.com, which will reduce the chances of miscalculations?
  3. Paying someone else to do it, you can use a CPA or a process agent, like Truck Services of North America and let them take care of preparing and filing the return for you.
Regardless of the method you choose to file your quarterly IFTA tax return, it is crucial to maintain accurate records and file your returns by the January 31st deadline to avoid penalties. To find out more about IFTA filing or get started today, contact our friendly Express Tax Support Center in Rock Hill, SC  at 704.234.6005 between the hours of 8am – 6pm EST, Monday through Friday or email us at support@expressIFTA.com.
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Friday, November 23, 2012

IFTA FAQ's

The deadline to file 4th Quarter IFTA Returns is January 31, 2013.  To help you prepare your return here are the answers to some of the common questions about IFTA.


What is IFTA?

IFTA is the International Fuel Tax Agreement. This is an agreement between the 48 contiguous US states and 10 Canadian provinces in place to report and maintain fuel taxes.

Who qualifies for an IFTA license?
You will need an IFTA license and you must file fuel tax returns if you travel in two or more member jurisdictions and your vehicle weighs more than 26,000 pounds or if the vehicle has three or more axles regardless of the weight.

Why should I register for IFTA?
IFTA offers several advantages to interstate motor carriers who operate in two or more member states or provinces. Under IFTA, you will:

  • Choose one IFTA-member state or province as a "base jurisdiction",
  • Obtain a single fuel tax license for all of your qualified motor vehicles, authorizing them to travel in all IFTA jurisdictions; and
  • File only one tax report each quarter with your base jurisdiction, reporting your fuel usage and mileage for all IFTA member states and provinces.
  • Your fuel tax records will generally be audited only by your base jurisdiction.

Which taxes does IFTA cover?
IFTA covers fuel taxes only. It does not cover road taxes, weight mileage taxes, or any other jurisdiction specific taxes. You must continue to pay these taxes directly to the jurisdictions in which you travel.

Which fuels does IFTA cover?
Under IFTA, you must generally report information on all fuels used to power your qualified motor vehicles. However, reporting requirements for fuel used in each jurisdiction are based on that specific jurisdiction's laws and may vary.

What are the fuel tax rates for IFTA jurisdictions?
You may view, print, or download the fuel tax rates for all IFTA jurisdictions at http://www.iftach.org.

What fees must I pay under IFTA?
The fees vary from state to state, check your state for their specific fee.

What credentials will I receive?
You will receive one IFTA license for your business and two decals for each qualified motor vehicle in your fleet. One decal must be placed on the exterior portion of the cab's passenger side. The second decal must be placed in the same position on the driver's side. Decals are obtained annually at the time of renewal for all qualified motor vehicles.  You are required to make copies of the license so that one copy is carried in each qualified motor vehicle.

When are IFTA reports due?
Under IFTA, you are required to file quarterly fuel tax reports. The reporting quarters and due dates are:

Reporting Quarter
Due Date
January - March
April 30
April - June
July 31
July - September
October 31
October - December
January 31


To avoid penalty for late filing, the tax reports must be postmarked no later than midnight on the date indicated. If the last day of the month falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the next business day will be considered as filed timely.

Do I file a quarterly fuel tax report if I didn't run during the quarter?
Yes, you must submit a "zero" report even if no taxable fuel was used.

What is the penalty and interest rate for filing a late quarterly fuel tax report?
A penalty of $50.00 or 10% of the net tax liability, whichever is greater, will be assessed on late-filed reports, failure to file, or for underpayment of tax due. If the net tax liability is zero or a credit, the late filing penalty will still be $50.00. To avoid penalty for late filing, the tax reports must be postmarked no later than midnight on the date indicated. If the last day of the month falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the next business day will be considered as filed timely.
Interest is assessed on all delinquent taxes due each jurisdiction. The interest rate is 1% per month. Interest will be calculated from the date the tax was due for each month or fraction of a month until paid.

How do I obtain a return?
Most states furnish reports each quarter indicating the current tax rates for each member jurisdiction. Failure to receive the tax report does not relieve you from the obligation of filing in a timely manner or submitting the reports.

What records will I need?
You must maintain records that will adequately document all of the information you provide on your quarterly fuel tax reports. You must document all miles you travel - including the date of your trip, route of travel, total trip miles, and miles traveled in each jurisdiction. You must also keep all receipts for fuel you buy and place into your vehicles. If you maintain a bulk fuel storage facility, you must maintain additional records.

My IFTA License expires December 31, but I've heard there is an extension until February 28. Is this true?
Yes. You have until March 1 of each year to carry a current IFTA license and display the current year's decals on your vehicles, provided you have applied on time to renew your IFTA license.

To get started simply create an account at ExpressIFTA.com and begin entering your trip sheet information. If you have any questions, please contact our US based customer support team in Rock Hill, SC at 704-234-6005 or email us at support@ExpressIFTA.com.

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