ExpressIFTA Blog

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Basics To Understanding IFTA


ExpressIFTA is here to help you file your quarterly IFTA returns. We also provide the information you need to know to file your IFTA returns for each base jurisdiction.
Knowing the basics of IFTA helps you to further master your craft as an O/O or driver in the trucking industry. Here are the basics of IFTA:

What is IFTA? 
  • The International Fuel Tax Agreement 
  • A tax collection agreement by and among the 48 contiguous States and the 10 Canadian Provinces bordering the US
  • Uniform administration of motor fuels use taxation laws with respect to qualified motor vehicles operated in more than one member jurisdiction
IFTA’s Core Principles
  • Base Jurisdiction
  • Retention of Sovereign Authority to determine tax rates, exemptions and exercise other substantive tax authority
  • Uniform definition of Qualified Motor Vehicle
 Base Jurisdiction
  • Where qualified motor vehicles are registered (IRP)
  • Where operational control and operational records are maintained or can be made available
  • Where some travel is accrued
Tax collected through IFTA
  • Motor fuel use taxes that are imposed by each jurisdiction on the consumption of motor fuel in qualified motor vehicles.
Qualified Motor Vehicle
  • Motor vehicle used, designed or maintained for the transportation of persons or property and
  • Gross vehicle or registered gross vehicle weight over 26,000 lbs. or 11,797 kgs.
  • Three-axles regardless of weight
  • Used in combination when the weight of the combination exceeds 26,000 lbs. or 11,797 kgs.
Who may license
  • Any person based in a member jurisdiction operating a qualified motor vehicle in two or more member jurisdictions
Benefits to the Licensee
  • One license and one set of decals for each qualified motor vehicle to operate through all member jurisdictions
  • One tax return filed each quarter with the base jurisdiction
  • One tax payment or refund
  • Reduced administrative costs
Benefits to the Jurisdiction
  • Fewer taxpayers
  • Lower administrative costs
  • Increased audit coverage
  • Increased enforcement
The main thing to remember about IFTA is: An interstate motor carrier operating “qualified motor vehicle” between at least 2 member jurisdictions (the 48 contiguous states of the US and 10 Canadian provinces) must have an International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) license and decals issued by their base jurisdiction. For more information on IFTA visit ExpressIFTA.com
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Trucking News: Electronic Logging Device Proposal Is Welcomed By The ATA

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) officials have welcomed the proposal by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to mandate the use of electronic logging devices in commercial trucks as a potential improvement for highway safety.

ATA President and CEO Bill Graves says, "ATA supports FMCSA's efforts to mandate these devices in commercial vehicles as a way to improve safety and compliance in the trucking industry and to level the playing field with thousands for fleets that have already voluntarily moved to this technology.

What is the FMCSA's proposal?

The FMCSA has proposed a rule to require interstate drivers to use Electronic Logging Devices in their trucks in order to 'improve compliance with the safety rules that govern the number of hours a driver can work.' The agency has said the rule would 'significantly reduce the burden of paperwork' that is associated with paper logs.

In addition, the FMCSA says the rule would reduce HOS violations by making it more difficult for drivers to 'misrepresent their time on logbooks.'

The proposed rule was sent to the Federal Register to publish on March 12.

According to the FMCSA, It includes provisions to:

respect driver privacy by ensuring that ELD records continue to reside with the motor carriers and drivers. Electronic logs will continue to only be made available to FMCSA personnel or law enforcement during roadside inspections, compliance reviews and post-crash investigations.

Protect drivers from harassment through an explicit prohibition on harassment by a motor carrier owner towards a driver using information from an ELD. It will also establish a procedure for filing a harassment complaint and creates a maximum civil penalty of up to $11,000 for a motor carrier that engages in harassment of a driver that leads to an hours-of-service violation or the driver operating a vehicle when they are so fatigued or ill it compromises safety.

The proposal will also ensure that drivers continue to have access to their own records and require ELDs to include a mute function to protect against disruptions during sleeper berth periods.

Increase efficiency for law enforcement personnel and inspectors who review driver logbooks by making it more difficult for a driver to cheat when submitting their records of duty status and ensuring the electronic logs can be displayed and reviewed electronically, or printed, with potential violations flagged.

 The ATA does have a few concerns with some details relating to supporting document retention requirements and grandfathering of existing devices, among others, and will address those with FMCSA going forward. The FMCSA's proposal is driven by safety for truck drivers, and to a more efficient way to document logs.
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Tax Deadline: Today Is The Deadline To File Your Business Tax Returns

Reminder for all business owners: The  Business Tax Filing deadline is Today at midnight according to your time zone. If you need more time to file your business tax return with the IRS, you can extend your filing deadline up to 5 or  months by filing a Business Tax Extension through our sister product, ExpressExtension.com

Advantages of e-filing: 
Express Extension is a leading IRS authorized e-file provider that offers secure and convenient e-filing of Business Tax Extension Form 7004, and Personal Tax Extension Form 4868.
E-filing with ExpressExtension is the quickest way to file your tax extension. You can fill out your information and submit your extension form in minutes without having to deal with confusing IRS paper forms. After you have submitted your Business Tax Extension, you will receive confirmation within minutes of the acceptance of your Form 7004. ExpressExtension takes the hassle and guesswork out of filling out paper forms and mailing them in to the IRS.

More About Form 7004:

Form 7004 - “Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns,” will automatically extend the filing deadline for 32 different IRS returns. The IRS typically grants automatic extensions of five (5) or six (6) months, depending on the return for which the extension is filed. Form 7004 can be used by Multi-Member LLCs, C-Corporations, S-Corporations, Partnerships, Trusts and Estates.

Please note: IRS Form 7004 does not extend the time for payment of taxes, it’s only an extension to file your return. Generally, payment of any estimated taxes is due at the time of filing the extension. Do not let the deadline sneak up on you, file your extension today!

With its streamlined design and user-friendly interface, ExpressExtension will walk you through each step of the process in less than 10 minutes. Everything is spelled out in easy to read instructions, not confusing tax jargon. However, should you have any questions about E-Filing Tax Extensions, you can call, email or chat online with the Express Tax Support Center in Rock Hill, SC at 803-514-5155
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

CARB: Proposed Amendments to the Truck & Bus Emissions Regulations for California Truck Drivers

CARB ( California Air Resource Board) announced proposed amendments to its Truck and Bus Emissions Regulation. CARB says the proposed amendments provide drivers who are trying to company with the emissions regulations with some flexibility while still giving consideration to the 'important emission benefits the regulation provides.'

The amendments were proposed after stakeholders and, more importantly, truck drivers voiced concerns about their ability to comply with regulations.

ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols said, "The trucking community spoke and we listened. The good news is that we will not have to sacrifice the state's air quality goals to assist fleet owners. These amendments, which include more flexible deadlines and increased opportunities to access incentive funding, will further our emissions reduction goals by better ensuring that fleets can meet the requirements of the regulation."

Many predicted, and were sadly correct, the cost of compliance would put many small California carriers out of business and prevent non-compliant out-of-state trucks from entering the state.

The California Resource Board will discuss the proposed amendments at the April 24 Hearing
.

What are the proposed changes?

A longer phase-in period for diesel particulate matter (PM) requirements for trucks that operate exclusively in certain rural areas with cleaner air;

Additional time and a lower cost route for all small fleet owners to meet their PM compliance requirements, while reopening opportunities for these fleet owners to apply for and receive public incentive funding;

A compliance route for owners currently unable to qualify for a loan to finance required upgrades;
Adjusted schedules for low-use vehicles and certain work trucks;

Recognition of fleet owners who took action to comply by providing additional "useable life" for retrofit trucks and reducing near-term compliance requirements.

What will happen if it is approved?

If the board approves the amendments, carriers and owner/operators who have already made investments to their trucks will be provided with additional benefits. The proposed amendments provide flexibility to small fleets, lower mileage fleets, and fleets from areas that are also working for cleaner air.

ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols responded, "We recognize the huge investments that many business owners have already made in order to meet the requirements of the Truck and Bus Regulation. Their efforts have gone a long way toward helping us to meet our mandatory deadlines and we applaud them for what they have accomplished."

Overall these amendments would also ensure that, by 2020, the annual emission reductions would be at the same level as the existing regulation.

We will keep you posted on any new developments of the California Truck and Bus Emissions Regulations, for more information visit - Proposed Amendments to the Truck and Bus Regulation

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Protecting Your Truck And Trailer From Theft

Vehicle thieves love to get their sticky fingers on commercial trucks and trailers. When they are stolen, you or your company experience revenue loss, higher insurance premiums, parts shortages, business interruptions, angry customers, and workers' comp claims. The main concern is if a truck or trailer is violently hijacked, an operator may be traumatized, injured, or worse. We know you take precautions to avoid theft but are you taking all the right ones?

Here are a few preventative measures to help protect you against theft while your out on the open road.

Follow Routine Safety Measures

Put the most valuable cargo in the front of the trailer to make it less accessible to thieves.

Use cargo locking doors and keep them locked.

Do not permit unauthorized passengers, such as hitchhikers, to enter the vehicle.

Park in an attended lot. If this is not possible, park in a well-lighted, fenced lot that is visible from the street.

Do not leave spare keys in or under the vehicle.

Do not put a tag on the key-ring that directly identifies the vehicle. A criminal could use this to steal the vehicle.

Do not leave the windows open when the truck is unattended.

King-pin locks should be used on parked trailers. These are sleeves that are placed on a trailer's king-pin, then secured when it is not attached to a truck.

Install Warning And Anti-theft Devices

These include alarms and wheel locks.

Some thieves will be discouraged by such devices.

These will only slow a determined thief down. It is best to use other means of theft prevention as well.

Install Immobilizing Devices


These disable vital automotive functions and prevent the engine from being restarted until a hidden switch is activated.

These should be used along with the other mentioned security tips, as a disabled vehicle can still be towed away.

Install Tracking Devices

Global Positioning System (GPS) devices are commonly used to track the locations of trucks and trailers. Low Jack that semi and a thief won't get far.

Beware of Stranger Danger

Always drive with the doors locked.

Choose restaurants and rest areas that are in well-lighted, commonly traveled areas.

Be cautious when a stranger flags you down or asks you for directions.

Keep a radio or mobile phone handy to offer help without getting out of the vehicle.

Always be aware of your surroundings and follow routine safety measures. Try to keep these safety tips in mind when your out on the road and keep your truck and trailer safe from theft.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

IFTA 2014: March Is The Final Month Of The 1st IFTA Quarter

March marks the final month of the 1st IFTA Quarter. The deadline to file your 1st Quarter IFTA return will be Wednesday April 30, 2014. You can start preparing your 1st Quarter IFTA return with ExpressIFTA. If you are new filing your IFTA return here is some helpful tips to get you prepared for the filing deadline.

What is IFTA?

IFTA is the International Fuel Tax Agreement and is a tax collection agreement by and among the 48 contiguous States and the 10 Canadian Provinces bordering the US, in which motor-fuels-use taxation laws are uniform with respect to qualified motor vehicles operated in more than one member jurisdiction.

What is required on the IFTA quarterly tax return?
  • Total miles, taxable and non-taxable, traveled by the licensee’s qualified motor vehicles in all jurisdictions, IFTA and non-IFTA , including permit miles
  • Total gallons of fuel consumed, taxable and non-taxable, by the licensee’s qualified motor vehicles in all jurisdictions, IFTA and non-IFTA; 
  • Total miles and taxable miles traveled in each member jurisdiction; 
  • Taxable gallons consumed in each member jurisdiction; 
  • Tax-paid gallons purchased in each member jurisdiction; 
  • Current Tax Rates for each member jurisdiction.
To avoid rushing at the last minute, you can start preparing your IFTA return with ExpressIFTA.com. When you’re organizing your trip logs online with ExpressIFTA, the system automatically calculates the amount due based on all of the previous data entered – no complicated tax calculations required.

If you have any questions about filing your IFTA return, call our Express Tax Support Team in Rock Hill, SC at 704.234.6005 between the hours of 8am-6pm EST, Monday – Friday.




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