April IFTA filing is the worst. Absolutely the worst. It’s not because it’s harder. Often it’s not, It’s because
- Federal income tax filings are due
- State income taxes are due – personal and business
- City income taxes are due and those don’t ever seem to be available online
- First quarter is usually the slowest time of year for trucking.
So Q1 IFTA sucks.
How do we make the April IFTA filing easier?
Most owner-operators have to pay quarterly or even monthly taxes to the federal government. But this month is when we file to get that regular payment amount. Now we have to make sure that we’re making every legit deduction, every tax-deductible expense, and honestly representing how much we’ve earned is critical.
Since this filing is based on last year’s numbers, those numbers should be available to you on January 31 or February 28 of the year, depending on the tax forms you get from your employers or your clients. (Trust the government not to make this simple, right?)
So we have a couple of suggestions that might make the April IFTA filing less… painful.
Track Expenses Immediately
We can get too comfortable throwing receipts into an envelope and promising to “file these later.” Maybe you set aside some time every month to enter all your fuel purchases or your maintenance expenses. As an owner-operator, you’re the boss. Who’s going to call you out if you let it slide?
Entering your expenses immediately takes the pressure off at the end of any quarter. Lost receipts? Not a problem if you take care of them right away. As a person who can lose a piece of paper in less than 10 seconds (believe me, I’ve done it), having a system that allows me to enter the data right away is critically important. Even if it’s taking a picture and uploading to a storage system like TruckingOffice’s FileSafe, at least you’ve got the original record. But can an image get transferred into your expenses records?
Some credit/debit card programs can do that for you. But if you’re talking about a cash purchase, to take 30 seconds to enter it now means you don’t have to remember it weeks later – if you can. Or forget it entirely, which happens far too often.
Easily Track Your Mileage Per State
I’ve watched a few truckers on YouTube and again and again, I hear that they’re manually tracking their miles per state. Can I just say
DUDE. IT’S THE 21ST CENTURY.
Now, I appreciate that maybe tracking your miles manually means you think you’re keeping more accurate records for IFTA and IRP. Your mileage matters and you must have true numbers. But what happens when you’re driving in the middle of the night when you cross a state or province line? Do you stop to record it? Send a snapshot of your odometer to yourself? While you’re driving?
Or worse, do you try to guess at the next rest stop?
Tracking your mileage per state might be simplest with a good routing program like PC*Miler with TruckingOffice PRO and the TruckingOffice ELD. You will have exact numbers. When you run the IFTA report in TruckingOffice PRO, you’ll have no doubt that what’s on that report is right. Not a penny less. Not a penny more.
The other benefit of tracking your miles immediately is that you’ll know where to buy your fuel. You’re going to end up paying the taxes in those states. You can reduce those taxes by purchasing your fuel there, so the IFTA won’t be so painful.
Pay IFTA Early
Ok, this may be heresy. But if you can pay IFTA on April 1st, get it out of the way early. Why?
Two words. CASH FLOW.
You need money to run your business in April. Regardless of the April IFTA filing due at the end of the month, you need to have funds to pay for fuel, your living expenses, your business expenses, mortgages, and loans.
How can you manage to have it done so fast?
First, use TruckingOffice PRO’s system that takes the data from your ELD and PC*Miler. When your dispatch is entered into the system, TruckingOffice PRO gives you an IFTA report to tell you how much you owe.
Be aware, tax rates may change. We take care of updating the tax rates in a timely manner. But sometimes the new tax rates don’t go into effect right away. So take the report before the first day of the IFTA month as an estimate based on current tax rates. What you get on the first of April, July, October and January are going to be correct.
Set aside that amount, and keep it current on a debit card. Then, on April 1, pay your IFTA bill immediately. The money is already set aside. You don’t have to put it on a credit card and wonder if you can afford to eat. So when you have to file those other tax forms and make payments, you’re not at risk of failing to pay IFTA (and the fines, penalties, and getting pulled off the road, either.)
You need cash to run your business. By diverting your funds early and consistently, you avoid the huge cash crunch that April IFTA filings can cause.
How to Cope with the April IFTA Filing?
Use TruckingOffice PRO. By using a complete trucking software package along with a fully integrated ELD system, managing the numbers is very simple. Our pre-programmed reports can take care of IFTA in less than a minute. All your numbers are used in dozens of ways to give you the data you need in the format you require to manage your trucking business.
Not just in April. Every month.
Can’t believe it? Think it’s just too good to be true? We don’t blame you. It’s hard to believe that one product can change the way you manage your trucking business.
Take us out for a spin – the entire program – and discover how much easier owning a trucking business can be. You’ll be delighted at how much TruckingOffice will make your owner-operator trucking business easier and how little time it will take to make you more successful.
So… ready for a free trial? We’re waiting for you to give yourself the gift of an easier April IFTA filing by signing up now for our free trial. We don’t ask for any credit card or debit card number until you’re sure you want to use the best trucking software available. We don’t think it will take long for you to know that’s TruckingOffice.
April IFTA filing doesn’t have to be the worse. Just as bad as every other quarter.