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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