ExpressIFTA Blog

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Avoid Making These 8 Mistakes When Filing Your IFTA Return

ExpressIFTA.com is an online service that allows you to record your mileage and fuel reports and prepare your IFTA fuel tax return each quarter. ExpressIFTA helps ensure that you’re able to generate your IFTA return efficiently and accurately to help save you time and money. Be prepared for the upcoming IFTA deadline, by avoiding these 8 mistakes when filing your IFTA Quarterly Return:

1. Using log books instead of daily trip reports
This can be problematic since log books do not capture all of the information required for preparing quarterly fuel tax reports. In addition, there are different retention requirements for log books and trip reports.

2. Failure to keep receipts for all fuel purchases
 You must collect and retain detailed fuel receipts or invoices from a third party vendor for the time required by your state jurisdiction.

3. Failure to meet retention requirements
Many times companies both large and small are not familiar with the IFTA/IRP regulations. Remember, motor carriers are required to keep IFTA tax returns, along with trip reports, fuel receipts and other supporting documentation for the time required by your state jurisdiction.

4. Hard to read and/or incomplete trip reports
Trying to make out chicken scratch can be a major headache. Check your paperwork to make sure it is complete and legible. Fill in any blanks, correct any errors, and clarify any sloppy handwriting to avoid issues.

5. Use of dispatch systems to calculate miles
The problem with using dispatch systems to calculate your IFTA taxes is a dispatch system calculates miles from pickup of goods to delivery. It does not capture the miles driven to the pickup point or after the delivery is made, which results in unreported miles.

6. Not reporting personal or unloaded miles
Remember, all miles must be recorded, whether loaded, empty or bobtail.

7. Using GPS when the device is not IFTA compliant
An IFTA compliant device must be able to produce a data file which contains the latitude and longitude and odometer reading form the J-bus. Some devices are erroneously advertised as IFTA compliant, so make sure you do your homework when purchasing new units.

8. Not filing miles in the correct quarter
The first priority in the trucking business is moving freight. Many times carriers get so caught up with this aspect of their business they find themselves attempting to prepare their quarterly taxes at the last minute without capturing the last couple of trips in the quarter. Resulting in unreported miles being included in the following quarter. While there is no malicious intent, the fact remains that all miles traveled and gallons purchased in a quarter must be accurately reported. This simple misapplication can result with chaos in an audit.

You can easily avoid these mistakes and have all your records neatly organized when filing your IFTA with ExpressIFTA. There are built in error diagnostic reports and a dedicated support team to assist you with any questions you may have.



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Friday, April 4, 2014

How To: Filing your 1st Quarter IFTA Return

The deadline to file your 1st Quarter IFTA Return is April 30th. Let's first go over some quick IFTA basics before we get into filing your IFTA return.

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.
Note: The IFTA jurisdictions include the 48 contiguous states of the US and 10 Canadian provinces bordering the US.
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.
Now you know the basics of IFTA, let's drive straight into filing your return using ExpressIFTA.com
After creating an account with ExpressIFTA, all you need to do is enter basic information; such as contact information and EIN. You will also need to enter you base jurisdiction and IFTA license number. You can learn more about your state jurisdiction by visiting our IFTA States information page. 
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.
To enter mileage into the system, it can be entered manually, or an excel file with all your trip data can be easily uploaded. 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 tips and would like to enter them manually, all that is needed is the State, Odometer reading, and amount of fuel purchased for each trip.
The system will then run a diagnostic report to review any possible errors 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 over looked like, missing miles in your trip data.
The best part about organizing your IFTA return with ExpressIFTA is that our system automatically calculates the amount due based on all the previous data entered. There is no need to get frustrated over complicated tax calculations.
After you have entered all your trip data you just follow the prompts and file according to your state jurisdiction. Easy right? If you do ever have any questions while filing your return, just give the ExpressIFTA support team a call or send us an email. We are US-based and our office is located in Rock Hill, SC. You can reach us via phone: 704.234.6005 email: support@expressifta.com 
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

IFTA Tax Periods and Late Penalties

It's time for a fun filled IFTA info blog. The first quarter of the 2014 IFTA ended in March, and you have until April 30th to file your 1st quarter IFTA return. Here is a schedule of the upcoming IFTA Quarter

periods:
Quarter                                                Reporting Period                                      File Deadline
1st Quarter                                          January - March                                       April 30, 2014
2nd Quarter                                         April - June                                              July 31, 2014
3rd Quarter                                         July - September                                      October 31, 2014
4th Quarter                                         October - December                                 January 31, 2015

The "Reporting Period" refers to each calendar quarterly period. If you file your IFTA quarterly return late or underpay the taxes due, the penalty and interest rate applied will be based on the base jurisdiction/state that you belong to.

IFTA Late Penalties
It is important to file quarterly IFTA returns on time to avoid possible penalties. ExpressIFTA makes filing your IFTA return a breeze, just enter your trip information and we automatically calculate the tax due. Ok back to the penalties...

A penalty of $50.00 or 10% of the net tax liability, whichever is greater, will be assessed on late-filing 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 the deadline.

Interest is computed on all delinquent tax due to each jurisdiction at a rate of .4167% per month. Even if you have a net refund, interest still applies to each jurisdiction for any underpayment of fuels use tax to that jurisdiction and is calculated beginning the day after the due date of the return for each month, or fraction of a month, until paid.
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