ExpressIFTA Blog

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What Is IFTA?

If you are in the trucking industry you might have been asked at one point or another - What is IFTA? It's not the easiest question to answer. There are a lot of different parts to go over when explaining IFTA and how it works. So to get you prepared and ready to answer this question, or if you are wondering yourself what IFTA is, I'm going to go over ever little IFTA bit. By the end of this blog you will be an IFTA expert.

Introduction To IFTA: The Basics
IFTA is the International Fuel Tax Agreement that allows you to travel in all participating member jurisdictions with a single fuel tax license. To operate in two or more member jurisdictions, you are required to have an IFTA license and decals on your vehicle. You receive your IFTA license through your base jurisdiction and you are given decals to put on your truck. Your IFTA license needs to be renewed annually in December. When you hold an IFTA license, you are required to a file quarterly return that calculates how much fuel tax you owe (or are credited) to remain compliant. 

Qualified Motor Vehicle
To be considered an IFTA Qualified Motor Vehicle, your vehicle must meet a few requirements. The basic requirement is that it is designed, maintained, and/or used to transport people or property. Then there are more specific requirements to meet:
  • Has two axles and gross vehicle weight that exceeds 26,000 pounds or
  • Has two axles and a registered weight that exceeds 26,000 pounds or
  • Has three or more axles or
  • Has a combination weight that exceeds 26,000 pounds
Recreational vehicles are the only vehicles exempt from reporting IFTA. 

Base Jurisdiction
As mentioned in the Introduction to IFTA: The Basics, a base jurisdiction is the state where:
  • Your qualified motor vehicle(s) are registered
  • Operational control and records of the licensee's qualified motor vehicle(s) are maintained and available for auditing purposes
  • Some mileage is accrued by your qualified motor vehicle(s) within a fleet of vehicles that travel through that jurisdiction. 
Basically, your base jurisdiction is the state your truck is registered in.

IFTA Quarterly Filing
Every quarter you will file a return that reports three months of miles. It is a simple trip sheet layout and you simply plug in the state and number of miles driven. You can complete your IFTA Quarterly return right here through ExpressIFTA.com. When e-filing your IFTA return you will need the following information:
  • Total mileage traveled through each member jurisdiction
  • Your fuel receipts to enter amount of fuel purchased in each member jurisdiction. You will need to keep a record of all your fuel receipts in case you are audited. 
It's a lot of IFTA information to take in, but I told you, you will be an IFTA expert. If you deal with IFTA filing and license renewal all on your own and just don't want the hassle anymore, there is a wonderful processing agency that specialized in all things IFTA and everything else dealing with trucking permits to authorities - Truck Services of North America. They can take care of everything for your, all over the phone. 

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