ExpressIFTA Blog

Friday, July 31, 2015

IFTA FAQ's

The filing deadline is finally here folks, and you’ve got until the end of the day to get your report generated and sent to your base jurisdiction. If you’re in a frenzied panic right now, don’t worry, we’re going to answer all of the most frequently asked IFTA questions to help you get your return done correctly and in a timely manner.

Frequently Asked Questions:


Do I need to file an IFTA return?

IFTA stands for International Fuel Tax Agreement, and it is necessary to file if you operate in a participating jurisdiction and your vehicle weighs over 26,000 pounds, or has over three axles.

All 48 contiguous states participate in IFTA (with the exception of Oregon), as well as some Canadian provinces. The 2nd quarter ended on June 30, and you have until the July 31 deadline to get that return filed.

What is the fuel tax rate for my jurisdiction?

The tax rates often change from quarter to quarter, but if you are ever unsure about the current tax rate for your base jurisdiction, you can find the tax rates for all states at http://www.iftach.org/taxmatrix3/choose_tableq2.php.

When is my IFTA report due?

IFTA returns must be filed every quarter, and the due dates for each quarter are as follows:

1st Quarter: April 30
2nd Quarter: July 31
3rd Quarter: October 31
4th Quarter: January 31

What do I need in order to file?

In order to file an IFTA return, you will need to have all of your mileage, as well as your fuel records and receipts. Your information should include your total miles in each state, as well as the amount and type of fuel purchased in each state.

What happens if I file late or do not file at all?

If for some reason you don’t file on time or don’t file at all, you will subject yourself to fees and late penalties. The fees and penalties are as follows:

  • Late-filing penalty: The fee for filing late is an automatic $50.00, no matter when you file, if it isn’t done before the deadline you can expect to pay this $50.00.
  • Interest penalty: In addition to the late filing penalty, if you don’t file on time you will also be subject to paying interest on your delinquent taxes. The interest rate is .4167%, and that rate is applied to the tax amount you have due every month until it is paid. 
Do I have to file a report if I didn’t operate during the quarter?

Well that depends on if you still have your IFTA license. If you don’t have your license, then you don’t need to worry about filing. However, if you do still have your license, then you’ll need to still need to file a return, even if you didn’t operate at all during the quarter. If this is the case, you will simply file a zero return.

Does your system work with the state of Colorado and their new barcode system?

Yes, our system has been recently updated to include the new barcode necessary for filing an IFTA return with the state of Colorado.

Can I upload my data from my GPS into your system?

Yes, you can absolutely upload your data into our system from your GPS. Just send the file over to us, and we’ll upload it into the system for you. Although please note that sometimes upload requests can take up to 48 hours to complete, depending on the size of your file.

If these frequently asked questions didn’t answer all of yours, feel free to give us a call at 704.243.6005 or email us at support@expressifta.com, and we’ll be happy to answer anything else you want to know about getting your IFTA return filed. Happy filing!


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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

IFTA: What to Keep in Your Distance Records

If you’re filing an IFTA return, it can get a little tricky and there are several things you’ll need to know to be sure your report is prepared properly. The most important of which is the information that must be included on your distance logs. There’s a lot of data required for trip sheets, and some things you might not already know, so keep reading to make sure that you’re keeping track of everything you need!

Distance Records


Distance records can be kept a variety of different ways, but most carriers do so by using trip sheets. Although, regardless of how they are kept, they still must include all of the same information.

For IFTA purposes, all loaded, empty, deadhead, and bobtail miles must be accounted for. Not only will you have to keep accurate distance records for the year, but you will also have to keep those same records for four years in case you are ever audited. Trust us, if you ever do face an audit, you’re going to want to have those documents to avoid paying huge fines and penalties.

Trip Sheet Requirements


For your trip sheets, you will required to have the following information included:

Trip Information: For your distance records, you’ll need to include all of your relevant trip information like the beginning and ending trip dates, trip origin and destination, and the route of travel.

Odometer Readings: To prove the validity of your trip information, you will need to keep track of all mileage on your odometer. For each trip make sure you’re recording both the beginning and ending odometer readings.

Mileage: Your logs will need to include the mileage of the trip, including the total mileage, total mileage for each trip, and the total mileage traveled in each jurisdiction.

Vehicle and Licensee’s information: You must also have the vehicle identification number, the fleet number (if applicable), and the licensee’s name included somewhere within your trip sheets/logs.

Fuel Record Requirements


For fuel records and IFTA purposes, it is necessary to keep track of all fuel purchased and used. A separate record must be kept for each fuel type, such as retail fuel and bulk fuel purchases.

You also should pay very close attention to all of your fuel receipts, and be sure that you are not only keeping track of them but taking care of them properly as well. Now you may be asking yourself, why would I need to take good care of my fuel receipts? That’s because if a fuel receipt has anything erased, washed off, or that looks like it’s been altered in any way (like if you accidentally spilled a cup of coffee or wrote some personal notes on one), they may not be accepted for tax-paid credits. In order to receive credits for a receipt that is unclear, you will have to be able to prove that it’s valid. So don’t put yourself through that hassle, and take good care of your receipts by keeping them organized in a safe place.

All of your fuel receipts or invoices will need to contain all of the following information:

  • The date of purchase
  • The address and name of the establishment where the fuel was purchased
  • The amount of fuel purchased and the type of fuel purchased (in gallons)
  • Price per gallon or the total amount of sale
  • Unit numbers for the truck the fuel was purchased for 
Be sure that you are following our tips and including all of the necessary information to avoid dealing with an audit. If you have any other questions about your distance records or generating your IFTA report, don’t hesitate to give our support team a call. You can reach us by phone at 704.234.6005, by email at support@expressifta.com, or you can live chat with them directly from our website!

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Last Minute IFTA Filing Tips

At ExpressIFTA, we take great pride in making the IFTA filing process as easy as ever. We’ve already covered how to get yourself prepared in advance for your IFTA return. Today, we’re going to give you some great tips on how to simplify filing your IFTA return at the last minute.

Take a look below at our tips for the brave souls who have successfully waited until the last minute to file.

Last Minute Tips:


The first thing you’ll need to do is to create an account. It’s very simple to do and only takes a few minutes, but you don’t want to be dealing with the sign-up process when you’ve got limited time to get your return filed. To create an account, visit ExpressIFTA.com, and click on the “New User” button in the top right corner of the page, and enter your information to get started.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

To generate a report, you will need to have your:

  • Mileage Log- Whether you use manual trip sheets, a GPS system, or electronic trip sheets (e-logs), you will not only need to input all of this information into your report, but you will also need to keep ahold of your logs for recordkeeping purposes in case you are ever audited. Trust us, if you do ever face an audit, having these handy will save you a huge headache. 
  • Fuel Receipts- You will need to have all of your fuel receipts so you know the exact amount of fuel that was purchased in each state. You will also have to separate your mileage and fuel records for each fuel type of fuel. 
Prepare Yourself in Advance:

If you are doing manual trip logs and plan to use ExpressIFTA, be sure that you are preparing yourself beforehand by adding your fuel and mileage into the system as-you-go. The manual logs can take some time to fill out, especially if you leave all your data entry to the last minute. So don’t wait until you’re running behind, start getting your mileage and fuel into the system today!

If this is something that you have problems keeping up with, you can always try a GPS system or program that runs ProMiles, so that you can upload all of your trip information directly into our system instead of having to enter it all manually. A business management program like TruckLogics can also help with that. Not only can the program help you keep track of your mileage with ProMiles and relevant IFTA information, but it can also help you keep track of all of your fuel receipts from the road. Simply download the app, and you will be able to upload pictures of all of your fuel receipts from the road directly into the system for safe keeping.

IFTA Report Options:

Here are the options for generating your IFTA report:
  • Using our Software Program- ExpressIFTA is the easiest and most accurate way to generate your report. Software programs are great for generating reports since all the calculations are automatic, which greatly limits your chances of making an error on your return..
  • Do it Yourself- You can calculate your return by hand or you can send it in by mail. If you have any questions about the current tax rate for your state, visit the IFTA website.
  • Paying Someone Else- You can always use a CPA or a process agent to do your report and send it in for you, like Truck Services of North America. That way you can just sit back and relax, and let someone else take care of all the paperwork. 
Don’t Forget About Weight-Mile Tax:

Also, very important to note that the weight-mile tax for the states of New Mexico, New York, Kentucky, and Oregon are due the same day (July 31) as the IFTA tax deadline. With everything going on, it can be easy to forget about these extra taxes. so if you operate in any of those four states, don’t forget to file!

If you have any questions about your IFTA return or IFTA in general, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can be reached at 704.234.6005, or you can email us at support@expressifta.com.


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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

IFTA: Late Fees and Penalties

Recently, we took you through the most common IFTA mistakes, and this week we’re going to cover the late penalties and fees for those that don’t file their returns on time. If you were thinking about pushing off filing a little bit longer, hopefully this will convince you to do the opposite. We all give enough money to the IRS already, and after all, you do like money, right? Well then keep reading so we can tell you how to keep that hard-earned money in your pocket!

Late Filing Penalty:


If for some reason you do pay late, you can expect a penalty of $50, or 10% of the net tax liability, to be assessed on reports that are not filed, filed late, or that do not pay the entirety of the tax amount owed. If you don’t owe any taxes, the late-filing penalty will be $50.00.

To avoid getting these penalties, the reports must be postmarked no later than midnight on the last day of the quarterly deadline. Although, if the last day of the deadline is on a weekend or legal holiday, the next business day will act as the deadline.

Late Tax Payment Penalty:


In addition to the late filing penalty, a penalty is also due to each base jurisdiction you traveled in and owe taxes to.

For each jurisdiction, an interest rate of .4167% will be added to the tax amount owed every month until it is paid. If you have a net refund, this interest rate still applies and is calculated for all states beginning the day following the due date of the return.

IFTA License Revoked:


Yes, that’s right, many states will actually revoke an IFTA license if a quarterly return isn’t filed or if multiple returns are filed late. While it doesn’t happen often, it can, and you wouldn’t want to be the one to test that would you? So be sure you are filing and doing it on time!

Not only can your filings or lack thereof have an effect on your current IFTA license, but they can also keep you from getting your license renewed in the future. If, at renewal time, you are not current on any past quarters, you’ll have to pay the total tax amount owed before getting your new license.

If you have any questions about IFTA penalties or IFTA in general, give Truck Services of North America a call at 803.386.0320. Not only are they IFTA experts, but they also can file your IFTA return for you! Just send them the mileage and fuel information, and they’ll take care of the rest. They also help with tons of other trucking services like IRP Registration, BOC-3 Authority, HVUT filing (Form 2290), and just about anything else you need to operate a truck.

If you have any questions about using our program you can give us a call at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expressifta.com.


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Friday, July 17, 2015

IFTA Deadline: We're Halfway There!

No the title isn’t wrong, we really are already halfway through the 2nd quarter deadline! While we’ve been saying this for weeks, if you haven’t filed already, now is the time to get started. If you don’t already know, the deadline is July 31, giving you just two weeks left to file!

We know it’s gone fast, but trust us, the last two weeks will go even faster. So get on your computer, and go to ExpressIFTA now to get started. Why wait any longer?

What You’ll Need To File:


At ExpressIFTA, we take pride in streamlining the IFTA process and making filing your return as simple as can be. To file your return with us, all you’ll need is:

  • Mileage Logs
  • Fuel Receipts
  • Any IFTA Correspondences Pertaining to Your Account
Now, we know you’re probably thinking, is that all I really need? What about my tax and miles per gallon calculations? Well no worries, that really is all that you need to file with us. Simply enter your mileage and fuel purchase details, and our program will automatically do all the heavy lifting for you. No manual calculations, no wasted time.
Plus, our system will also run a diagnostic report before your return is transmitted to check for any errors on your return. The report will be able to find any basic errors that you may have overlooked, as well as any errors based on the estimated miles per gallon calculations.

And again, be sure not to wait beyond the deadline to file or you’ll be subject to late penalties and fees! If you're unfamiliar with late-filing penalties, then, then stay tuned! Our next blog will explain all of the possible penalties for filing your IFTA return late.

If you have any questions about your return, IFTA in general, or using our program, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can reach our support team by calling us at 704.234.6005, email us at support@expressifta.com or live chat with us on our website. We’ll be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout July and August, and our email support is 24/7!


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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Benefits of Filing with ExpressIFTA

The 2nd quarter filing season is well underway, and if you haven’t filed your 2nd quarter IFTA return, now is the time to do it. Whether you’re new to ExpressIFTA or have been filing with us for years, keep reading and we’ll tell you all about the benefits of our program and how easy it is to e-file your IFTA return with the industry leader.

Benefits


No Hidden Costs: With ExpressIFTA, you’ll never get surprised with hidden fees. There are no costs to sign-up for an account, and no monthly fees or contracts to use our service. You can even play around with the program to see how you like it, and you won’t actually have to pay until you choose to generate your return.

File for Any State: That’s right, ExpressIFTA is available for use by all 48 states that participate in the International Fuel Tax Agreement. So no matter what state is your base jurisdiction, if they participate in IFTA, you can file with us without worry.

No Calculators: Probably the best feature of all, and we think most would agree, is the simplicity of using our program. You’ll never need a calculator, or have to figure out the tax amount owed yourself. Our system does all of the heavy lifting, all you have to do is enter your fuel and mileage information, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Simple Mileage and Fuel Entry: Thanks to our simple entry for odometer readings and ability to maintain both distance and fuel records online, keeping track of and entering your mileage and fuel information is a breeze. Plus you even have the option to upload all of your mileage straight into the system with an Excel file.

Free Diagnostic Check: Our system will also run a diagnostic report before your return is transmitted to check for any errors on your return. The report will find any basic errors that may have been overlooked, as well as errors based on the estimated miles per gallon.

Linked to ExpressTruckTax: Speaking of simplicity and convenience, you can also use ExpressIFTA from your ExpressTruckTax account. All you need to do is login and click on the IFTA tab at the top of the page, and it will automatically create an IFTA account for you using the information saved in the system with ExpressTruckTax. Then just click “Begin” to get started, and you’re on your way!

As you can see, even if you’re not a big fan of computers, e-filing your return has never been easier. Not only does our system help streamline the process, but our US-based customer support team is always there to help make it even simpler. If you have any questions about our program or about IFTA in general, give us a call at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expressifta.com and we’ll be happy to help.


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Friday, July 10, 2015

Fixing Common IFTA Mistakes

In our last blog, we told you all about the most common IFTA mistakes and how they can affect your IFTA return. Now, we’ll explain how to do so some damage control if you do happen to make one of those mistakes.

Luckily for you, most of these can be easily avoided with a few preventative measures, and if not, they can be easily fixed. Keep reading and we’ll go back over the most common mistakes and how to fix them.

Fixing Common Mistakes


Not Filing a Return if You Didn’t Operate: This can potentially be a costly mistake to fix depending on how long you wait, but on the bright side, outside of the potential cost, the fix itself is very simple. If you didn’t operate but plan to operate again in the future, you’ll need to file a zero return as soon as possible. If you are closing down operations for good, contact your base jurisdiction and ask them to close your account so you won’t need to file a return at all.

Not Keeping Fuel Receipts: This one’s an easy fix; if you aren’t keeping your fuel receipts or at least making copies of them, then start doing it! All you need is a specific place or method to keep them organized. You can try getting a small file folder for your truck, or you can get with the 21st century and start storing copies of your receipts electronically like we mentioned in the last blog, with our business management program TruckLogics. If you filed a return and are being audited without any receipt copies for proof, you can also use records from your bank account to prove the validity of those fuel purchases.

Thinking Your IFTA Account Has Closed: If you think your account has been closed but you aren’t entirely sure, the best thing to do is call and check with your base jurisdiction. Don’t ever assume anything! If you simply contact your base jurisdiction, they will be able to tell you the current status of your account and close it for you if need be. This way, you can be sure you won’t ever be required to file outstanding returns for quarters that you didn’t even operate!

Filing for Previously Unreported Mileage: Now here’s where things can get a little tricky. As you know, you are required to file for all interstate and intrastate mileage, including loaded, empty, deadhead, and/or bobtail miles. If you don’t, then there’s a good chance you’ve got an audit coming your way.

To avoid this mistake, the best solution is to find an easy and effective way to record all of your mileage. Some truckers like to do it the old fashioned way, and record it by hand, but if you are a forgetful person then we wouldn’t recommend this. There are other ways to keep track of your mileage, like using the ProMiles add-on in TruckLogics or another GPS system which can keep track of all your mileage automatically.

Filing Late: Of all the potential problems to have, please don’t let this be one of them. The deadline to file is on July 31, and all filers after that point will be subject to late penalties or interest on their tax owed. But since we just told you the deadline, you’ve got no excuse to be filing late. So if you haven’t filed already, head on over to ExpressIFTA and get started today!

A late-filed reports are subject to a late penalty of $50 or 10% of the net tax liability, whichever is greater. If the net tax liability is zero, then the late penalty will be $50. Interest is also compounded on all taxes owed after the due date at a rate of .4167% per month late until the amount due is paid.

Note: If you use ExpressTruckTax to file your Form 2290, then you won’t have to create an ExpressIFTA account. Simply log-in to your ExpressTruckTax account, and select the IFTA tab at the top of the page.
If you have any questions about your IFTA return, give us a call at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expressifta.com.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

5 Common IFTA Mistakes: Accepted Vs. Audit

As you already know, or should know anyway, the 2nd quarter IFTA filing season is officially underway. If you haven’t already filed your return, now is the time to do so, and ExpressIFTA is here to make sure you don’t make any silly mistakes that could end up costing you more of your time and hard-earned money this tax season.

Below are some of the most common mistakes when filing an IFTA return, so be sure to avoid them so you don’t get slapped with an audit from your base jurisdiction!

Common Mistakes


Not Filing a Return if You Didn’t Operate-This may be one of the most common mistakes made and it also has the potential to be one of the biggest problems. Although many truckers are under the impression that if their truck hasn’t been operating they don’t need to file a quarterly IFTA return, that isn’t always the case. According to IFTA rules and regulations, all IFTA license holders with a valid license are required to file a return before the deadline, even if no miles were traveled during the period. If this is the case, you can simply file a zero return and no tax will be owed.

Not Keeping Fuel Receipts- Although keeping receipts is not the most convenient practice in the world, it is required that you keep IFTA returns, trip reports, and any other supporting documentation for the amount of time required by your base jurisdiction. If you don’t have a good method for keeping your receipts then give TruckLogics a try. With the TruckLogics app, you can actually take pictures of your fuel receipts and then upload them directly into your account for safekeeping.

Thinking Your IFTA Account Has Closed- If you do not renew your IFTA license at the end of the year, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your account will be closed automatically. While in some places this is the case, the process to close your account varies from state to state. Some states revoke and close the account at renewal time or once you fail to file, while others allow the account to remain open and each quarter that is late is subject to late filing penalties and interest for any tax due. We’ve actually seen customers in the past that have been required to file over 4 years of outstanding returns all because they didn’t close their account. Don’t let that be you!

Filing for Previously Unreported Mileage- Well quite frankly, if you have unreported mileage to file, just be happy that you aren’t already being audited. All mileage traveled during the quarter must be filed for: no exceptions. Even if it’s just the last few trips of the quarter and you think it won’t make a difference, trust us, you’ll want to be sure that mileage was all recorded properly in the unfortunate event of an audit.

Filing Late- This is probably the most common issue with IFTA returns. If you don’t file your IFTA return by the end of the quarter’s deadline, you can subject yourself to late fees and/or interest on the tax liability. A late-filed reports are subject to a late penalty of $50 or 10% of the net tax liability, whichever is greater. If the net tax liability is zero, then the late penalty will be $50. Interest is also compounded on all taxes owed after the due date at a rate of .4167% per month late until the amount due is paid.

All returns postmarked not later than midnight for the due date will be considered on time. If the last day of the month falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, filing on the first following business day will be considered timely. The deadline to file this year is Friday July 31.

After reading this, you can clearly see just how much of a hassle a small mistake can be on your IFTA return. But luckily we just told you everything not to do, so you shouldn’t have any problems!

If you have any questions about filing your IFTA return then don’t hesitate to give our support team a call at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expressifta.com, and we’ll be happy to help you any way we can.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

It's Time to File Your 2nd Quarter IFTA Return!

Well folks, the second quarter is officially in the books, and it’s time to start filing those dreaded IFTA returns. Luckily for you, ExpressIFTA allows you to create a return online in minutes with just a few simple steps so you can get back to trucking.

Here’s everything you need to do to file your IFTA return with ExpressIFTA, and don’t worry, you wont need a calculator. Just put in your information and we’ll crunch all the numbers for you!

How to File


Sign in or Set up Your Account: The first step to filing your IFTA tax return with the industry leader is to sign-up for an account with us if you haven’t already done so. You can create an account in seconds by entering our website and selecting “new user.” Then you’ll just have to enter some basic business information, your base jurisdiction, and IFTA license number.

If you use ExpressTruckTax to file your Form 2290, then you won’t have to create an ExpressIFTA account. Simply log-in to your ExpressTruckTax account, and select the IFTA tab at the top of the page. You will then be prompted to set your units of measurement for your distance traveled and fuel purchased, (e.g. miles/kilometers, gallons/liters) and your truck information.

Enter Mileage Traveled and Fuel Purchased: Next you will have to enter the mileage traveled and the amount of fuel purchased during the quarter. You can enter your fuel and mileage information manually, through an Excel file, or upload it directly from your GPS system.

If you have records of your trips and enter your information manually, all you will need to enter is the state, odometer reading, and the amount of fuel purchased for each trip.

Once your information is entered, ExpressIFTA will automatically calculate the amount of tax due based on the data you entered.

Generate and Transmit Your Return: This is the very last step, and the system will automatically run a diagnostic report to review your return for any errors based on the estimated miles per gallon. Now, clearing this audit check doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your return will be accepted, but it can find basic errors that you may have overlooked. Once you have entered your information and completed your return, simply follow the instructions to send to return to your base jurisdiction.

If you have any questions at all about your IFTA return don’t hesitate to give us a call at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expressifta.com, and our locally-based support team will be happy to assist you.

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