ExpressIFTA Blog

Friday, June 26, 2015

IFTA: Understanding the Basics

It’s that time of the year again as the 2nd quarter is quickly coming to a close. You’ve still got plenty of time to get your IFTA return filed, but it’s time to get started so you aren’t rushing to get everything together on July 31.

While most all heavy vehicles in the US are subject to this tax, a lot of folks aren’t quite sure what IFTA is and what exactly the tax is used for. So keep reading and we’ll explain everything you need to know about the International Fuel Tax Agreement.

What is IFTA?


IFTA is an acronym standing for the International Fuel Tax Agreement. IFTA is an agreement between the lower 48 states of the United States and the Canadian provinces. The agreement was put in place to simplify the reporting of fuel use by motor carriers that operate in multiple jurisdictions. There are a few exceptions to the agreement, which include Alaska, Hawaii, and the Canadian territories.

All operating carriers that must file IFTA returns will receive an IFTA license and two decals for each qualifying vehicle it operates from their base jurisdiction. The carrier is then required to file a quarterly tax report, which is used to determine the net tax or refund due and to redistribute taxes from collecting states to the correct state where the money is due.

Who Must File IFTA Returns?


The tax is required for motor vehicles used, designed, or maintained for transportation of persons or property that:

  • Has two axles and a gross vehicle weight rating or registered gross vehicle weight in excess of 26,000 pounds
  • Has three or more axles regardless of weight
  • Is used in combination, when the weight of such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds gross vehicle or registered gross vehicle weight
There are certain exceptions for recreational vehicles (such as motor homes, pickup trucks with attached campers, and buses) used exclusively for personal pleasure by an individual. Some states also have their own special exemptions that apply to government or farm vehicles.

How it Works


Basically, IFTA works as a “pay now or pay later” system. When commercial vehicles purchase fuel, any taxes paid to the state in the transaction is then credited to that licensee’s account. After the quarter is over, the licensee is required to complete a fuel tax report that lists all of the miles traveled and fuel purchased in participating jurisdictions. The the average fuel mileage is applied to the miles traveled, which determines the tax liability to each jurisdiction. Then the amount of fuel taxes due (or the refund amount due) is paid to or by the base jurisdiction that issued the license. Audits can be conducted at any time, but are only conducted by the base state.

There are three states that also charge additional weight-mile taxes, including Kentucky, New York, and New Mexico. Oregon also charges a weight-mile tax, but does not collect diesel taxes

ExpressIFTA has been making filing your IFTA easier by the year since 2011. In addition to our program’s innovative features that simplify the process, our support team is also available to help you with anything you may need. Just give us a call at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expressifta.com.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

2nd Quarter IFTA Deadline: Entering Your Mileage and Fuel Details

Well its that time of the year again folks, as another quarter is almost in the books. With June ending and July right around the corner, it’s officially time to start getting yourself prepared to file your IFTA return for the 2nd quarter.

Now with all the information you have to keep record of for your quarterly IFTA filing, we know it can be quite difficult. That’s why we do all we can to make the process as simple as possible. Keep reading and we’ll tell you all you need to know about entering in your mileage and fuel purchases for your 2nd quarter IFTA filing, and how our program will make it easier than ever.

How Do I Enter My IFTA Information


ExpressIFTA has several great features to help make entering in all of your relevant IFTA return information a breeze. The ExpressIFTA data-entry features include:

Trip Sheets: These are great for keeping track of mileage as you drive. A trip sheet allows you to manage your IFTA return with each trip that you make and you can enter the information for it at your own convenience. The first thing you’ll do to use a trip sheet is to choose the vehicle and driver you want to report for. At the beginning of the trip, simply enter a trip number and the odometer reading at the beginning of the trip. Then, you will input the starting location and the end destination, and also the start and end dates of the trip. You can also enter in any additional information to help you organize your trips including a description of the load, the carrier, trailer number, and more.

After your trip summary has been documented, you can continue recording your specific mileage and fuel records. You can even break down your miles driven by taxable, nontaxable, and even toll or non-toll if you prefer. After you input your fuel purchased in each state, you can save your trip for your final IFTA return.

Quick Entry: The quick entries feature is exactly how it sounds, quick. Once you’ve selected the vehicle you want to record data for, you can begin entering mileage and fuel details for that vehicle one month at a time. You can also include trip numbers if you’d like.

Start at the beginning of the month and record which state - or states - you were in each day, how many miles you traveled, and how much fuel you purchased. Through Quick Entries, you can break down your miles driven by your odometer readings, or by the total distance traveled. You can also label each trip by the type of trip for your convenience. For example, whether the trip was loaded, empty, bobtail, deadhead, etc.

Bulk Entry: The bulk entry feature is going to be one of your best friends come the end of the quarter. This feature allows you to conveniently and easily upload your odometer, or distance records, from an Excel or CSV file. You’ll start by adding in a list of your odometer or distance records to the spreadsheet we provide, then just follow the on-screen tips to upload the spreadsheet into our system.

The bulk upload also has a smart upload feature that allows you to use your own template and format to upload your odometer details into our system. Just select the file you want to upload from your computer, and match the required data fields to ensure that your data is imported correctly. Then click upload and your spreadsheet will be imported into our system. (It’s that easy!)

GPS Data Capture: ExpressIFTA is also capable of importing data directly from your GPS system. Simply choose the type of GPS device you are using, and then upload the appropriate GPS device output into the system. At this time we only accept Fleetmatics GPS output, but if you are using another system please contact us at support@expressifta.com, and we will be happy to upload it for you to our system. Once we receive your GPS report we’ll be able to make that specific platform available to you at all times from your ExpressIFTA account.

If you have any questions about your IFTA return or have trouble inputting your mileage or fuel purchases, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expressifta.com.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

2nd Quarter IFTA Deadline: Prepare Yourself Today!

With HVUT season rapidly approaching and pre-filing already underway, there’s a lot on your plate right now. We just want to make sure that during all the melee you don’t forget about the second quarter IFTA deadline on July 31, 2015.

At ExpressIFTA, we’ve been making the IFTA process easier by the year, and this year, we want to make your E-filing experience as quick and simple as ever. Keep reading, and we’ll give you some great tips on how our program’s features can help you stay organized and get prepared for the 2nd quarter IFTA deadline.

Where Do I Start?


If you don’t already have an account with us, then let’s do that first. Simply visit the ExpressIFTA website, and select “new user” from the top right of the page. Once you have entered in all the required information, you are ready to begin E-filing your IFTA taxes with the industry leader!

How ExpressIFTA Helps You Stay Organized


The first thing you need to do to keep organized is keep track of all of your fuel receipts. The fuel receipts are your ticket to ensuring that your return is filed properly and all of your fuel purchases have been tracked. If you ever get tired of keeping a giant pile of receipts, our business management platform TruckLogics can help. Instead of having to keep a messy pile of receipts, TruckLogics allows users to take pictures and immediately upload and save them to the program.

You will also need to keep track of your mileage driven and the amount traveled in each jurisdiction. The ExpressIFTA program offers a Trip Sheet option where you can enter specific purchase information, such as fuel purchases and the distance you travel on a specific trip. This feature makes it easy to keep track of both your mileage and the amount you spend on fuel. Simply enter your mileage for the months of April and May, and input your mileage for June as you drive it. That way, when the deadline does come, your return is already almost complete.

For keeping accurate track of all of your mileage driven in each jurisdiction, we also provide you with a GPS Upload and Bulk Upload feature that is available for use for both vehicles and mileage, and makes entering both a breeze.

If you have trouble keeping track of your mileage yourself, then TruckLogics can help with that, too. Not only does our program help your business stay organized, but through ProMiles, it can also keep track of your exact mileage traveled in each jurisdiction. Let’s face it, who wants to have to write down every time they enter a new jurisdiction and manually keep track of their miles?

However, if you do need to manually enter your miles, you can do it quickly and easily through ExpressIFTA. Once you enter your information, it is automatically saved with our program so next time you come in to enter mileage, you can just pick up right where you left off.

If you have any questions about our service or any of the features we offer, just give us a call at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expressifta.com.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Stay Ahead of the Curve: Pre-File With ExpressTruckTax Today


While we know you’re already familiar with ExpressIFTA and all we have to offer, we’d like to take some time to familiarize you with our partner, ExpressTruckTax. Why, you might ask? That’s because for most, HVUT season is rapidly approaching, but at ExpressTruckTax, it’s already begun. That’s right, our partners over at ExpressTruckTax are offering pre-filing for the 2015-16 tax season a full month early.

Let’s face it, no one likes things hanging over their head, especially when that thing is taxes. Why procrastinate and wait until the end of August to get your 2290 filed and deal with the possibility of late penalties? As a wise man once said, “Why put off for tomorrow what you can do today.” So get it over with and E-file your 2290 with the tax experts at ExpressTruckTax today, and get back to doing what you need to do, driving.

Heavy Vehicle Use Tax Season


The HVUT season runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. All owner-operators, leasing companies, trucking companies, and any other businesses owning heavy vehicles with a gross weight over 55,000 pounds traveling on public highways must file Form 2290. Typically, filing doesn’t begin until the tax period begins on July 1, but with ExpressTruckTax, you can begin E-filing right now.

What is Pre-Filing?


Pre-filing is a way to file your taxes early, and it allows you to get ahead of the game by filing up to a full month before the tax season even begins! After you’re done pre-filing your return, ExpressTruckTax will hold onto it until July 1, and it will be at the top of the stack when the IRS begins processing 2015-16 returns. As soon as the IRS does begin processing on July 1, ExpressTruckTax will send you the copy of your stamped Schedule 1 immediately upon the acceptance of your return.

Why Should I Pre-File?


Even though the tax period hasn’t technically started yet for the 2015-16 season, pre-filing can still be done today. Pre-filing offers users many advantages that they won’t be able to get after July 1, with some of the major benefits including:

  • Getting your taxes out of the way, leaving more time to focus on work
  • No additional cost to pre-file
  • When selecting the check or money order option, you will get until August 31 to pay the IRS, giving you nearly 3 months to save up the amount of tax you owe
  • Your Form 2290 will be automatically transmitted to the IRS on July 1, and once transmitted you will receive your stamped Schedule 1 in minutes
  • If the return is rejected for any reason, you have plenty of time to resubmit it before August 31, making it much easier to avoid late penalties
  • VIN corrections and retransmissions for rejected returns are completely free for anyone that E-files with ExpressTruckTax
  • Customer support is available via phone, live chat, and email in both English and Spanish, with 24/7 emergency email support



If you need any help pre-filing your 2290, or have any questions about the process, ExpressTruckTax is always there to help. They are available for English and Spanish technical support via phone at 704.234.6005, live chat, and email at support@expresstrucktax.com. So save yourself a headache down the road and get your 2290 pre-filed today!
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