ExpressIFTA Blog

Friday, August 28, 2015

IRP FAQ's

Now that the IFTA second quarter is finished, you won’t have to worry about filing another IFTA report until the end of October. But that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear just yet. Now is time for a lot of you to either renew or register for IRP, and the process can get a little confusing. Not to worry though, take a look below and we’ll go over all of the most frequently asked IRP questions!

What is IRP?

IRP, although it seems complicated, is just an initialism for the International Registration Plan. The International Registration Plan is a special agreement among US states, the District of Columbia, and Canadian provinces for payment of commercial motor carrier registration fees. Any qualified vehicles that travel interstate must register, and the registration must be done with your base jurisdiction.

What is a Base Jurisdiction?

Choosing your base jurisdiction is the first and most important step to get registered for IRP. Typically, the base jurisdiction is just the state or province where your business is located. In order to select a state as your base jurisdiction, you’ll need to have documented proof that your business is in headquartered in that state/province.

How Do I Apply?

To actually apply for or renew your IRP registration, you will need to prove your business is located in your base jurisdiction, complete an application, and pay the necessary fees. You will also need to make sure that all of your tax payments are up to date for IFTA and for the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax.

Supporting documentation is necessary to prove that everything is up-to-date and correct. The documentation necessary for IRP registration includes your IFTA registration, vehicle title, and proof of insurance. Some other states and provinces may also require additional documentation, so if you are unsure of your base jurisdiction’s requirements, give them a call and check.

What is a Qualified Vehicle?

A qualified vehicle is any vehicle that weighs over 26,000 pounds or that has three or more axles and operates in multiple jurisdictions across the US/Canada.

Do I Have to Keep Any Records?

Yes you will need to keep records just like with IFTA. You’ll have to keep distance records of the mileage traveled in each jurisdiction, so that the fees you pay can be properly distributed to the states you operate in. You’ll also need to keep these records for at least three years after the close of the registration period, just in case you ever face an audit from your base jurisdiction.

Is There Anything Else to Do?

There’s really only one other thing you’ll have to worry about, and it’s pretty simple. Once you receive the receipt for paying your registration, you’ll receive your decals along with it. Any idea what you’ll need to do with the decals? Yep, thats right, all you have to do is slap them on your truck in the correct position. Unsure of the correct position? Then just give your base jurisdiction a call, and they’ll be able to clarify where the decal belongs for vehicles in your base jurisdiction.

We know this is all a lot of information to process if you’re fairly new to the industry, but if you ever have any questions about anything IFTA or IRP related, just give us a call at 704.234.6005, or email us at support@expressifta.com.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Trip and Fuel Permits Explained

If you’ve registered for IFTA, you know getting all the proper paperwork, permits, and decals can be a little tricky. For instance, what if you mostly operate intrastate and need to make a trip into another IFTA jurisdiction? Or if you have applied for an IFTA license but need to operate before you have received your decals in the mail?

Well luckily for you, there are some legal ways around this. Take a look below and we’ll give you the legal options for traveling to another jurisdiction without the proper registration.

Permit Options


IFTA Temporary Permit:

If your vehicle qualifies for IFTA but you haven’t registered it or don’t want to register it, the best and only legal option is to get a temporary permit to travel into each IFTA member jurisdiction you wish to travel in/through. An IFTA temporary permit lasts for 30 days, and you have to get one if you need to travel interstate and don’t have IFTA decals.

Once you receive the permit, be sure to keep it inside the vehicle at all times along with your IFTA license. You should also note that permits are only valid for the vehicle they were ordered for, and cannot be transferred to another.

Trip Permit:

If you are registered for IFTA, then you don’t need a temporary fuel permit to travel interstate. But if you do not have your IRP registration, then you will need to obtain a temporary trip permit in order to cross state lines if your vehicle meets the following qualified vehicle specifications:

  • Weighs over 26,000 pounds
  • Has three or more axles, regardless of weight
  • Your vehicle is registered as a commercial vehicle in Arizona and weighs over 10,000 pounds
  • Your vehicle is registered as a commercial vehicle in California (weight does not matter)

State Specific Permit Rules


Many states also have different procedures for what you must do when you enter the state. There are three states that only issue permits at their ports of entry, which are Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. There is no other way to obtain these permits aside from actually going to the port itself. There is also no way to purchase fuel permits for states that don’t participate in IFTA, and it is recommended that you just save all fuel receipts from fuel purchased in those states.

Getting Your Permit


Now that you know just about everything there is to know about trip and fuel permits, you’re probably thinking, “Well how do I get one?” That’s a fair question, and the best way to get these permits is to contact a processing agency like Truck Services of North America. Just give them a call at 803.386.0320 or send them a service request, and they’ll get you all taken care of and ready to get on the road.

And don’t forget if you are registered for IFTA to generate your return with ExpressIFTA! It’s the quickest and most reliable way to do your IFTA return. Plus, our support team is always there to answer any IFTA questions you may have. Just give us a call at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expressifta.com and we’ll get you taken care of.


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Friday, August 14, 2015

IFTA Jargon 101 With ExpressIFTA

With IFTA, there are lots of terms and acronyms thrown about, and unless you're well-versed in IFTA jargon, you may be left wondering what on earth someone is talking about when you hear them. That’s where we come in at ExpressIFTA, so just keep reading and we’ll explain some of the most commonly used IFTA terms and what they mean.

IFTA Jargon 101


Below are some of the most used IFTA terms and definitions:

Unladen Weight: For IFTA purposes, the only weight that matters is the unladen weight, unlike with your 2290 and the taxable gross weight. The unladen weight of the vehicle is the vehicle’s weight when it is not carrying any passengers, goods, or other items. It does, however, include the body of the vehicle and all parts that are normally used with the vehicle or trailer. The weight of a full tank of fuel is not included in the unladen weight.

IFTA Temp. Permit: An IFTA temporary permit is a permit that must be obtained to place a qualified motor vehicle into service before you’ve received the vehicle's permanent IFTA decals. The temporary permit is valid for 30 days, and the permit along with your IFTA license must be kept inside of the vehicle. Temporary IFTA permits are only valid for the vehicle they were ordered for, and they cannot be obtained unless your account is in good standing.

IFTA Base Jurisdiction: For IFTA, you will be required to register and send payment to your base jurisdiction. Your base jurisdiction is the state where your business is headquartered, unless your state does not participate in IFTA. (Hawaii and Alaska) This is the state you will obtain your IFTA license and two decals from, and those will authorize you to travel in all IFTA jurisdictions. You will only have to file one tax return each quarter with your base jurisdiction, and as you know, you will also have to report your fuel mileage and your mileage driven in each jurisdiction. Also note that if you ever do face the unfortunate event of an audit, they are typically only performed by your base jurisdiction.

IRP Base Jurisdiction: Your IRP base jurisdiction works just like your IFTA base jurisdiction, although the two do not have to be the same. In order to get your cab card and your necessary plates for each vehicle, you will need to register with your base jurisdiction. By registering for IRp, you will have the authority to operate interstate. The requirements and rules for obtaining and maintaining your registration vary from state to state, so if you ever have any questions regarding documentation for insurance, authority, etc, be sure to contact your base jurisdiction.

Qualified Motor Vehicle: Only qualified motor vehicles are required to register for IFTA and IRP. What is a qualified vehicle? A qualified vehicle is categorized as any vehicle that:

  • Has three or more axles
  • Has two axles, and a registered gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds 
  • Is used in a combination that has a registered gross weight of over 26,000 pounds
Vehicles such as campers or motorhomes do not count as qualified vehicles when individuals use it for personal pleasure only. Vehicles must be used in connection with a business operation in order to be considered a qualified vehicle.

We hope this helps clear up some of your IFTA questions, but if you ever have any others, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can give us a call at 704.234.6005, email us at support@expressifta.com, or even live chat with us straight from our website.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

It's Official: Our Parent Company Has Made the Inc. 5000!

At ExpressIFTA, we’re very proud to announce that SPAN Enterprises, our parent company, has made the Inc. 5000 for 2015! The list is composed annually, and contains the fastest-growing privately-held companies in the United States. SPAN officially checked in at number 1150 on the list, making it the 11th largest company in the Charlotte metro area and the fastest-growing software company in South Carolina!

ExpressIFTA and the Company Behind the Scenes


ExpressIFTA was launched in 2012, and was the second product of the ExpressTaxZone suite. After ExpressTruckTax was created in 2010, SPAN wanted to help its customers with more than just Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, and with that idea, a new product was born.

ExpressIFTA is a software program designed specifically for generating IFTA reports for all states that participate in the International Fuel Tax Agreement. The software’s intuitive user interface allows you to quickly and easily keep track of your mileage, fuel purchases, and much more, all from our web-based program. We do everything we can to make IFTA as easy as possible, so we do all the calculations for you, too!

As ExpressTruckTax and ExpressIFTA have grown over the years, ExpressTaxZone has grown as well. The full suite of products now includes ExpressTruckTax, ExpressIFTA, ExpressTaxFilings, Express990, and ExpressExtension. So basically, we allow e-filing for just about any taxes you’ll ever need to file as a trucker. The best thing about the ExpressTaxZone? We’ve got a US-based support team that’s able to answer your questions all year long. No talking to someone halfway across the world, and no getting stuck with clueless customer service representatives; our tax experts always have your back.

More about SPAN Enterprises


SPAN Enterprises began in 2010 when co-founders Agie Sundaram and Naga Palanisamy joined together to create the company and its first product, UnitWise, a business management program designed for Mary Kay sales professionals. Since then, the company has grown from its original tandem to having over 200 employees spanning the globe.

SPAN has launched over 14 different cloud-based software applications, and over 20 different software programs. Most of the company’s programs are either e-filing tax software or business management platforms, although SPAN plans to broaden its horizons and launch more apps in other industries later this year.

As a company, we’re continuing to grow and striving to reach new levels every year. We couldn’t have done it without you, our customers, so thanks to you all for helping us to create something special! Even as we continue to grow, our small-town mentality will never change, and neither will our service. We look forward to working with you for years to come, Trucking Nation!


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Friday, August 7, 2015

IFTA News Update

With the 2nd quarter filing period in the books, you’re probably thinking that you won’t have to worry about fuel taxes for a little while. Well, we hate to be the ones to burst your bubble, but that’s not quite the case!

Many states have decided to raise their fuel tax rate, and several others have recently changed their IFTA filing methods. Take a look below to see what’s new, and how it will affect your future IFTA filings.

News Updates


Fuel Tax Increases

For many states, tax rates are constantly changing, and that trend has continued so far in 2015. Since the start of the year, seven different states have passed bills to increase fuel tax, including Idaho, Maryland, Georgia, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Michigan, and most recently Washington State.

If you don’t travel through or operate in any of those states, don’t worry, you’re state could be next. Many other states and even some Canadian provinces are currently considering a spike in fuel taxes.

The tax increases are as follows:
  • Idaho: $.07
  • Maryland: $.035
  • Georgia: $.07
  • Rhode Island: $.01
  • Nebraska: $.005
  • Michigan: $.04, will increase another $.04 on Jan. 1 2016, and another $.07 Jan. 1 2017
  • Washington: $.07, will increase another $.049 cents next summer
New IFTA E-file Policy

Ohio and Michigan have recently changed the way IFTA license holders must file. Previously, the two states followed the same system used by the rest of the country, which made it mandatory to physically mail in a report. Now, the state has become the first to make it mandatory to e-file your report. Several other states now also offer online filing systems, but none that have been made mandatory yet.

If you’re wondering if you can still use ExpressIFTA if your state requires electronic filing, no worries, you absolutely can. All you’ll need to do is generate a report with us like you normally do, then upload it into the e-filing system for your state. Because let’s face it, no one wants to have to do all those complex calculations on their own, and that’s where we come in.

New Barcode Policy:

Starting this year, the state of Colorado also made some changes to their IFTA filing process. The state added a new barcode system, which all reports generated and submitted to the state must have. Returns and reports submitted without the mandatory barcode will no longer be accepted.

Luckily for you, we have updated our system to reflect this new barcode policy, so you can still generate your report with ExpressIFTA!

If you have any questions about these new policies or about IFTA in general, don’t hesitate to contact our US-based support team. You can reach us by phone at 704.234.6005, email us at support@expressifta.com, or live chat with us directly from our website.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

IFTA Credits, Refunds, and Late Penalties

Now that the IFTA 2nd quarter deadline has passed, many of you are likely waiting for refunds or credits. If you are, you’re probably wondering when you can expect those and how that process works, but all you have to do is click the giant red refund button on the picture!

Just kidding, it’s not quite that quick, but luckily it is that easy. Stay tuned and we’ll tell you all about how the IFTA refund process works, and we’ll also go over some of the late penalties/fees for those of you that haven’t filed your returns yet.

Credit and Return Process


There are many possible outcomes after we generate your IFTA report for you, and one of the best possible is receiving either a refund or a credit. Once the system has calculated your taxes, the amount shown is either your refund/credit amount, or the amount you owe. If the amount shown is in parentheses, it signifies a negative amount, meaning you owe IFTA taxes. If the number shown is not in parentheses, then it’s your lucky day, and you’ll receive either a credit or refund for that amount!

Refunds are issued in different ways, and they will always be provided to you from your base jurisdiction. You won’t have to do anything for a refund or credit, it will be sent or applied automatically. To find out how your base jurisdiction issues refunds, we would suggest calling them, as many states have differing methods.

Late Fees/Filing Penalties


If you’re filing late, however, this all works very differently. If you have a credit in one state but owe taxes to another, the interest rate will not apply to the credited state, but will apply to states where you owe taxes. The interest rate is .4167%, and is applied beginning the date after the quarterly deadline until the total amount is paid. In addition to interest accruing on the tax amount you owe, there is also a general late penalty, which is either $50.00 or 10% of the total tax liability (whichever is greater).
Also please note, that if you live in Nevada, the penalties are much more stringent. Not only do you have to pay all of the same fees and interest as other states, but you also must pay an administrative late fee, which increases each time you file late. The administrative fees for the state of Nevada are as follows:

  • 1st Offense- $100
  • 2nd Offense- $500
  • 3rd Offense- $1,000
  • 4th Offense- $5,000
  • 5th Offense and Every Offense After- $25,000
So as you can see, if you travel through the state of Nevada, you’ll need to be extra careful and file on time; those administrative costs can add up very quickly!

If you are unsure about your base jurisdiction's refund process, give them a call so they can explain the process for your state. If you have any other IFTA related questions, feel free to give us a call at 704.234.6005, or email us at support@expressifta.com, and our US-based support team will help you with anything else you need!


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