How familiar are you with the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)? Part of running a successful trucking company depends on your understanding of IFTA. With that in mind, I've prepared a Q & A on the most common questions drivers have about the agreement.
Q; How do I know if I need to file an IFTA return?
A: You must fill out an IFTA return if: You operate a commercial vehicle within two or more IFTA jurisdictions, and if one of the following two circumstances applies to you:
- Your truck weighs more than 26,000 pounds; and/or
- It has three or more axles
Q: What are the IFTA jurisdictions?
A: They include all US states except for Alaska and Hawaii, along with all 10 Canadian provinces.
Q: Where do I apply for an IFTA license?
A: You should do so in the jurisdiction where you have your vehicles registered, where you do some driving, and where you keep your records. In other words, register where your home office or HQ is.
Q: Where do I go to apply for an IFTA license and decals?
A: You will need to visit the website for your state’s jurisdiction. The easiest way to find this site is to do a search for “IFTA license and decals application” then enter in your state. For example, if you live in California, you would search for “IFTA license and decals applications California.” You should find the appropriate site on the first page of results.
Q: What should I do if I have commercial vehicles in two or more jurisdictions?
A: Contact the IFTA office in one of the jurisdictions and ask about consolidating your operations into one IFTA jurisdiction. You’ll be able to keep your vehicles right where they are, but for tax purposes you will only have one jurisdiction to worry about.
Q: When are IFTA reports due?
A: After the end of each quarter—four times a year. The specific dates are April 30, July 31, October 31, and January 31.
Q: I didn’t make any runs last quarter. Do I still need to file an IFTA report?
A: Yes. This is called filing a “zero” report.
Q: What will happen if I file my IFTA report late?
A: You will have to pay a penalty equaling $50.00 or 10% of the total taxes owed, whichever is greater. Also, for each month you’re late you will be fined 1% of the total owed.
Q: How do I get a return?
A: IFTA returns are mailed by each jurisdiction at the end of each reporting period.
Q: What records do I need to complete my IFTA report?
A: You will need records of all miles you drive. These must show the date you drove, the route you took, the total miles driven, and how many miles were driven in each jurisdiction. Keep receipts for all the fuel you buy and accurate driving log books.
Q: What will happen if I don’t meet all the requirements set up by the IFTA?
A: Your license will be revoked.
Q: Can I file my IFTA taxes online?
A: It depends on your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions are set up to accommodate electronic filing; others are not.
Q; I have both gas and diesel vehicles. Do I have to file separate returns for each fuel type?
Q: What options do I have for completing the IFTA paperwork?
A: You can do it the old-school way, which requires a lot of patience and hours bent over a desk making sure everything is done just right, or you can use our trucking management software. It will do all the math for you, allowing you to file your report accurately and in record time. You can try GetloadedOps right now free for 30 days. You won’t need to give us any credit card or checking account information. Take it for a test run today to see how easy it is to get your IFTA returns organized.