ExpressIFTA Blog

Friday, January 29, 2016

Long Haul Life: Entertainment for the Road




Quick reminder, Trucking Nation – the 4th Quarter IFTA deadline is Monday, February 1st.

Usually the deadline is January 31st, but since that falls on a Sunday, the deadline was moved to the next business day.

Now, back to business – whether you’re a greenhorn driver or a veteran of the road, you’re going to need entertainment for your travels. Sure, satellite radio has become a standard for the trucking life, but there are a few other entertainment options out there, too.

Enrich Your Life with Audiobooks

Let’s be real, we’ve all heard that reading can improve your life (and your health), but it’s not like you can hold a book across your steering wheel. Instead, get your hands on a few audiobooks! Now, there are truck stops that carry books on tape and books on CD, but there are digital options you can look into, as well.

If you’re looking for the latest releases, services like iTunes, Google Play, and Audible offer audiobooks for purchase. Maybe you want something cheaper? There are free archives like Librivox, where you can find audio recordings of public domain works. If you’re looking to read classic books, it’s not a bad option! Maybe you’ve wanted to pick up some business insights or learn a new language? There are plenty of educational audiobook options out there, as well!

Pace Yourself with Podcasts

On the other hand, you will have access to constant audio entertainment if you look into podcasts. If you have a smartphone, you can have access to podcasts. The cool thing about podcasts is that you can find one about any subject – news, politics, true crime, movies. And the best part is, most podcasts update on a regular schedule.

Some trucker themed podcasts you might want to check out:
Other popular podcasts include Serial, Stuff You Should Know, and Freakonomics Radio.

Turn Your Truck into a Theater

With a solid data plan, a mobile hotspot, or free wifi, you can turn your truck into a mobile entertainment system with a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. I mean, subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube Red have enough programming to keep you entertained for hours. Following their lead, many networks are making channel specific standalone services, too. Whether it’s HBO or ESPN, it won’t take you long until you’re streaming the latest entertainment directly into your sleeper. Plus, staying connected also allows you to video chat with any friends and family back home, so that’s an added bonus!

With the IFTA deadline right around the corner, rest assured that our US-based, bilingual support team is available by phone at 704.234.6005, or by email at support@expressifta.com.

How do you stay entertained when you're on the road?


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Monday, January 25, 2016

Last Minute IFTA Tips: 3 Ways to File



Let’s face it, Trucking Nation. You’ve been putting off your 4th Quarter IFTA reporting for a while. Sure, it’s understandable – you’re busy hauling the goods and products that stock our store shelves. The last thing you want to do is sit down and file paperwork for the government.


But you have to. Some of us might be lucky enough to have a spouse, child, or tax preparer who handles our IFTA returns for us. But for those of us who are on our own, we have to figure out how to get our IFTA filing done. With that said, we’re here to walk you through the three best ways to file your fuel tax return.


Manually Calculate and File


Something tells us if you’ve been procrastinating, you don’t want to go this route – but you can always manually calculate and report your IFTA return. I wouldn’t call it easy, but you just go to the IFTA website, find the rates for each state, and then calculate everything yourself. Simple, right? Yeah right!

Let Someone Else Do It


Like we said, we know plenty of truckers who let other people file for them. And that’s not a bad idea, especially if you use a service like Truck Services of North America. Instead of getting bogged down in IFTA rates, fuel receipts, and mileage calculations, you just need to send TSNAmerica your information, and they do the rest for you! And if you want someone back home to handle your IFTA return – well, read on.


Let Software Speed It Up


With the deadline right around the corner, you need a viable option for filing. Whether you or a tax preparer handles your return, our suggestion is filing with us at ExpressIFTA. With our easy-to-use software, you just need to have your records ready to go, input your information, and generate your return. You can create an account for free, and you only have to pay once you generate your return. With features like GPS uploading and distance calculators, you can see that we designed ExpressIFTA with simplicity in mind.

Best of all, if you need assistance, we offer US-based, bilingual customer support at ExpressIFTA. Call our support team by phone at 704.234.6005, or reach us by email at support@expressifta.com. You can even live chat straight from the website!


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Thursday, January 21, 2016

4th Quarter IFTA: The Deadline is Coming!

Now that we’ve rolled past the holidays, we have to face the truth – on February 1st, you must report your 4th Quarter IFTA Return. Brace yourselves, the IFTA deadline is coming!


Now we know we’ve mentioned the deadline a few times already, and that paperwork can be a hassle. But have no fear, Trucking Nation, ExpressIFTA is here to make your reporting fast, easy, and best of all -- worry free!


What Will I Need for my IFTA Quarterly Return?


First of all, you’ll need your IFTA license, basic business details, base jurisdiction, and truck information. After that, it’s only a matter of adding your total miles traveled and fuel purchased during the 4th Quarter. You can even upload Fleetmatics GPS data directly into the program, or email your GPS platform name and GPS report to support@expressifta.com and they will import it for you!


You probably already know this, but record keeping is a big part of IFTA. You’ll need a record of all your fuel receipts just in case you’re audited. We’ve talked about audits before, and we say it’s best to plan ahead! Remember, audits can happen at any time. On our end, we’ll keep all your IFTA returns on file so you have easy access if you are audited.


Here’s a quick overview of how ExpressIFTA works:




What happens if I don’t report my 4th Quarter IFTA?


We can’t say it better than the ExpressIFTA FAQ itself:

For most states, the penalty for late filing is a flat rate fee of $50 or 10% of the taxes due, whichever is greater. The only state that is different is Nevada. Nevada's penalty for Late filing is a $50 flat fee plus 10% of the taxes due.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in giving the government an additional $50 for filing late!

I Don’t Have Time to File -- What Should I do?


While we’re not optimized to file your paperwork for you, we suggest you look into Truck Services of North America. With their streamlined services, you can just send them your mileage records and fuel receipts, and let them know what you need taken care of. They’ll do everything for you from there!

Like we said earlier this week, if you prefer to file yourself then ExpressIFTA is right up your alley. If you need help, contact our support team by phone at 704.234.6005, email at support@expressifta.com, or even live chat straight from the website.


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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

4th Quarter IFTA Tip: Don't Have Time to File? Try TSNAmerica!

We’re less than two weeks away from the 4th Quarter IFTA deadline – and we know, you’re more concerned with winterizing your rig and fuel optimization. While ExpressIFTA makes IFTA reporting easy, some members of the Trucking Nation might be looking for a bit more hands on assistance.

Can ExpressIFTA Just E-file My IFTA Return for Me?


With all the variations between states’ filing requirements, ExpressIFTA’s goal is to help you generate your return with just a few clicks. From there, you can input your required information for your base jurisdiction, then print, sign, and mail it off. So unfortunately, we’re not equipped to take it to the next step and file your IFTA return for you…

Meet TSNAmerica

We know, we know – you’re pressed for time – which is why our friends at Truck Services of North America offer a full package of processing services aimed at making the trucking life easier. With TSNAmerica, you’re just a phone call away from having personalized help with IFTA reporting, HVUT filing, and State Permit upkeep. The TSNA professionals collect your information through email, fax or phone, prepare the necessary paperwork, and submit it to the appropriate state or federal department.

Save Time and Money


If you’re anything like us, you hate dealing with long hold times and government red tape. The nice thing about TSNAmerica is that they handle all that so you don’t have to. Tired of missing deadlines? They keep up with the upcoming due dates and can send you reminders via email or phone, so you can avoid penalties and late fees. When it’s time to focus on the long haul, you’ll be glad you gave TSNAmerica a shot.

Best Features for Truckers


Wondering if TSNAmerica is the right choice for you? Take a look around their site! Maybe you're interested in a live training session on filing Form 2290, the latest updates for maintaining your intrastate or interstate authority, or even ways to prevent back pain on the road. Not only are they experts in their field, their operators are eager to help, easy to reach, and located in Rock Hill, S.C. Interested? Have questions? Give the team a call at 803.386.0320.

More of a do-it-yourself kind of filer? ExpressIFTA is your best bet. And don’t hesitate to contact our support team if you need help. We're available by phone at 704.234.6005, email at support@expressifta.com, or even live chat straight from the website.

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Friday, January 15, 2016

The 4th Quarter IFTA Deadline is Coming Soon!

As you know, the 4th quarter of 2015 closed out at the end of December, so that means that IFTA reports are due January 31st. But it also means that it’s time to use ExpressIFTA, whether you’ve been using it for several quarters now, or if this will be your first time with us. And that’s good news, since we save you time and stress. And who couldn’t use more time and less stress?

ExpressIFTA Puts Your Mind at Ease


By getting your IFTA filed now, you’ll have one less thing to worry about. Since using ExpressIFTA is so quick and easy, you don’t have to put off taking care of your IFTA return like you might if you had to prepare your return by yourself.

Preparing your return with ExpressIFTA also helps relieve that big worry that IFTA can bring up: getting audited. We have an automatic error checker that will let you know right away if there are any inconsistencies or errors in your return. You’ll be able to fix them immediately and get more space between you and the dreaded audit.


What Will You Do with the Extra Time?


ExpressIFTA saves you so much time, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without the added time. There’s the time saved by not having to write down your mileage and fuel purchases, and not having to keep all those papers organized. Entering these items with us is super fast and simple, whether you upload your information from your GPS, upload an Excel spreadsheet, use Trip Sheets, or enter it manually with Quick Entries.

There’s also the time we save you by automatically looking up your tax rate and doing all the necessary math for you. With all that time freed up, the sky’s the limit to what you’ll be able to do!

Of course, we aren’t going to solve all your problems. But we can take care of some of those things you’d rather not do, or don’t really have to do all by yourself. ExpressIFTA can bring you added peace of mind while giving you more time to do the things you really love to do. Who couldn’t use some of that?

If you have any questions or concerns about your IFTA return, don’t hesitate to contact our world-class support team by phone at 704 234.6005, on live chat from our website, or by email at support@expressifta.com.

And don’t forget to join the conversation over on our Facebook page or Twitter. You can tell us and The Trucking Nation about your experiences with IFTA, how ExpressIFTA helped with that, or just about what you’re doing with all that extra free time!
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Monday, January 11, 2016

Saving Money on the Road

Expenses can mount on the road quickly. Competition is fierce, and time is money. But with a little self-discipline and the right approach, you can keep spending at a reasonable level, and hold on to your money instead of seeing it slip away the same day you make it.

Taking Stock of Your Finances

Perhaps the best way to control your spending is with a budget. Some see that as a four-letter word, and prefer the term spending plan. However you look at it, keeping track of your income and expenses can never hurt. By tracking your expenses, you can get a clearer picture of your spending habits, and where your money is going. Having this snapshot of your financial picture will allow you to better plan for expenses.

An important point for most truckers to remember is that income can fluctuate from month to month and even from week to week since most drivers are paid by the mile. Mileage can vary wildly if you don’t have a regular run every day, and most drivers don’t. So to prepare for the eventuality of having a week or month with a lower income is probably smart planning.

Eating on the Cheap

Once you know where your money is going, you can start to cut out the fat in your spending, and make wiser money choices. Perhaps the biggest expense on the road is eating. We all have to eat, but there are lots of ways you can save on food expenses.

An obvious way to cut costs is to avoid eating out as much as possible, including fast food. This isn’t always easy, especially since time can be extremely limited on your runs. But whenever possible, a good strategy is to prepare meals ahead of time so you have them ready for you at lunch or dinner time. Trust us, investing in a good portable refrigerator and a small microwave will pay off quickly!

Stocking Up to Save

Another strategy for saving is to avoid buying just about anything at truck stops. Most things there are overpriced and can be purchased elsewhere for much less. This may take some planning to buy things like snacks and drinks ahead of time, but it will be time well spent. The extra money in your pocket will be a welcome reward.

That being said, you’ve got to buy diesel at truck stops, so why not take advantage of loyalty cards and fuel cards? Read this blog about fuel cards from our friends over at TruckLogics to learn more about how these cards can help you rack up the savings.

Saving with Travel Planner

And speaking of TruckLogics, this innovative program can save you money in a number of ways. With the Travel Planner feature you can plan your route easily and save yourself down time that you would spend manually planning routes. The Route Optimization feature incorporated in Travel Planner calculates your best route for you, so you don’t end up driving unnecessary miles.

Everyone likes having extra money, and just by employing a few of these ideas the savings will start to mount. With the added cash you can do some things you really want to do, and isn’t that a huge reason you work in the first place?


If you have any questions or concerns about ExpressIFTA, contact us at 704.234.6005 or by email at support@expressifta.com.

And don’t forget to join the conversation on our Facebook page and Twitter. Post or tweet your favorite money saving tips or tricks you’ve learned from your time on the road. Your feedback allows us to continue providing you with the best service available.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Winterizing Your Rig

Well, it’s the beginning of a new year, but it’s also winter, and if you haven’t already winterized your rig, now would be a good time to do so. You may have waited or put it off, especially if your winter’s been particularly mild as it has been here in the Southeast. We know there’s cold weather ahead, though, and it’s always best to be prepared.

Winterizing Basics

Winterizing is an important part of your overall maintenance plan. There are some regions of the U.S. that don’t get cold enough for winterizing to be a concern, but in most areas there are enough cold days to warrant making sure your diesel engine is ready for winter weather.

Winterizing Checklist

There are several important aspects to winterizing, but the most important have to do with fuel, coolant, batteries, and operating temperatures. Let’s have a look at the key elements of this important process.

  • Fuel. Probably the most important consideration of all. Diesel fuel has paraffin wax in it, and this can turn to gel at low temperatures. A crucial point to remember is that diesel fuel is usually prepared and treated for the climate where it is dispensed. What this means for you is that you may buy fuel in a warmer part of the country and end up in a much colder area by day’s end. And if your fuel isn’t treated for that kind of cold weather, you may be in trouble. Perhaps the easiest way to deal with this is by using a fuel additive that prevents gelling. Also, the higher the cetane level in your fuel, the lower the freezing point, and the same with the fuel grade. Buy and prepare accordingly.
  • Water in fuel. Almost all fuel has some water in it. And, of course, water can freeze. Two key elements that keep water to a minimum in your fuel are a fuel filter and an optional water separator. If you operate a good bit of your time in colder weather, a water separator is probably a good investment.
  • Battery. Cold weather will take its toll on a battery quickly, and drain its amperage severely. Have your battery checked and if it’s at the high end of battery life (48-72 months), it may be wise to replace your battery going into the winter or cold weather.
  • Cooling System. Your cooling system of course also contains antifreeze, a key component to keeping an engine at optimal operating temperature. Be sure to check the hoses, belts, and radiator in addition to making sure your antifreeze is adequate.
  • Engine Heater. In colder climates, an engine heater can be an indispensable addition to your rig. This will keep your engine warm when it’s not running so that it doesn’t get too cold.
  • Air Dryer. Most rigs use air brakes, and keeping water and other contaminants from the brake system is crucial to prevent freezing in colder climates.

Other Common Sense Tips

There are other considerations to think about when operating in low temperatures. A lot of these are just common sense for spending time in cold weather, such as checking tires, being aware of what cold can do to key elements of an engine or rig, and especially taking proper care regarding driving conditions, as well as being prepared in case of a breakdown in severe winter weather.

ExpressIFTA is always here to help you out, whether it’s helping you prepare your IFTA return, or giving you good tips for cold weather driving. We’re available at 704.234.6005 and any time at support@expressifta.com.

We always enjoy reading your tweets on our Twitter feed, and your posts on our Facebook page. Join the conversation with us on social media! We need all your feedback to keep giving you the best service possible. Stay warm!

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