ExpressIFTA Blog

Monday, February 15, 2016

IFTA Grace Period & IFTA Audits

We’re a few months into the new year, we’ve filed our IFTA returns, and now we’re back to the fun side of trucking. But are there loose ends after filing IFTA? And now that the IFTA deadline has passed, what’s next?

Well, if you’re worried about hitting the road without an IFTA sticker, don’t blow a gasket yet. On the other hand, some of you might have the joy of being chosen for an IFTA audit.

We have the inside scoop for you, Trucking Nation.

The IFTA Grace Period

First off, the grace period is NOT some kind of break on fuel tax reporting. You got that? Good. What is it? Well, here’s what the IFTA people have to say:

Carriers renewing their IFTA license and decals have a two-month grace period (January and February) to display the renewal IFTA license and decals. To operate in IFTA jurisdictions during this grace period, carriers must display either valid current or prior year IFTA license and decals from the jurisdiction in which they were operating or a valid single-trip permit from the IFTA jurisdiction in which they are operating.

If that jumble was too much for you, just know that in order to legally travel through IFTA states for the first few months of 2016, you need one of the following:

  1. A valid IFTA license for 2016 and two IFTA decals from a member jurisdiction
  2. A valid IFTA license for 2015 and two IFTA decals from a member jurisdiction (only if a renewal application has been filed) 
  3. A valid trip permit from a member jurisdiction (it must be from the member jurisdiction you are operating in)

If you haven't yet applied for this year’s IFTA license and decals, you have a third option ahead of you. Purchase temporary fuel permits from TSNAmerica! And if you want to know more, read this blog about temporary trip and fuel permits.

Now, we’ve heard there are some issues going on with peeling stickers in Alberta, but the IFTA overlords have deemed there’s not a big enough issue to make a change.

What is an IFTA Audit?

An IFTA audit is the evaluation and verification of mileage and fuel figures reported on your IFTA quarterly tax return. Basically, these audits occur to determine if you’ve maintained acceptable records, filed the correct application, and paid the correct registration fees and taxes as required. Don’t forget, ExpressIFTA keeps all your returns on file so that you can easily access them if an audit occurs.

How do these IFTA audits occur? First, you’ll be contacted by letter with the auditor’s name and contact information. Then, the auditor will contact you to inform you about the required documents and the context around the audit. After that, the auditor will open with a conference that confirms general data filed on return, internal control evaluation, and nature of operations. Finally, the auditor will examine the requested records and perform the audit.

You can survive an IFTA audit if you keep a clear head, organize your documents, and do your best to communicate and work with the auditor. Of course, if you’re tired of being unprepared for audits and getting hit with penalties, you can always seek out help from the helpful folk at TSNAmerica.

At the end of the day, IFTA has streamlined a lot of aspects of fuel reporting. But nobody wants to get in trouble for missing a sticker, and nobody wants to be audited. And don’t forget, your 1st Quarter IFTA deadline is just a few months away. Call us if you have any questions about your IFTA reporting at 704.234.6005, or simply shoot us an email.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an IFTA audit? How’d it go? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments!

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