Put your IFTA mileage calculator to work every month, not just during IFTA months. That’s easy to do with TruckingOffice PRO. Your miles per state and fuel purchase data can be used at any time to compute an IFTA report. You can project your next IFTA bill any time. But why would you?
IFTA in Month 1
You’re paying IFTA this month. But you’re paying it for last quarter. This month’s purchases don’t count until the next IFTA month. So why look at it now?
If you’re a regional truck driver, you know what states you’ll haul a load to, and you know where you won’t. It’s likely that your home state is where you’re going to buy the most fuel.
But is it the state that you’ll drive the most in?
Maybe. After all, you’re coming home and those miles count too. But if you take a look at this month’s driving, you may see a pattern regarding your miles per state. That’s key. IFTA mileage calculators don’t exclude the deadhead miles. All miles count. Maybe most of your miles are in your home state. But maybe not.
IFTA Month 2
The second month of the quarter technically starts after the IFTA month is paid. So if we’re talking the January IFTA payment, which pays for the last quarter of last year, then the second month is February.
(This is almost as complicated as IFTA itself.)
Continuing to look at trends in driving, an owner-operator will see where fuel is usually purchased. We’re guessing you know where you like to buy fuel, and it’s in the states with the lowest fuel taxes. If you’re driving a regular lane, you’re gonna buy at the same places over and over because… well, it’s familiar. And it’s probably cheap.
If Month 1 is about where you drive, and Month 2 is about where you buy, what should you do in Month 3?
Month 3: IFTA Mileage Calculator Strategies
It’s always best to keep your cash in your pocket as long as possible. So buying the lowest-priced fuel makes sense. (Pun intended.) But in Month 3, it’s time to be strategic.
The way that IFTA computes that bill that you owe isn’t only based on the percentage of miles you drive in a particular jurisdiction. It’s based on the actual miles and how much fuel tax they think you should have paid for fuel purchased in their state to drive on their roads. IFTA takes the entire quarter’s mileage and fuel usage to create a miles-per-gallon number. They use that number to figure out how much you owe each jurisdiction.
So if you drive from Ohio to Illinois and never buy fuel in Indiana, they’re going to want some money from you. Or maybe, based on the fuel taxes in Indiana, you never buy in Illinois, because the fuel tax rate is almost double this quarter (Indiana is $0.33 while Illinois is $0.55.)
Now, the amount of fuel tax you paid in Ohio and Indiana may be excessive and may cover what you’ll owe Illinois. Or maybe not. You’ve already paid it in Ohio. That’s where IFTA comes in – to even it all out.
What every trucker needs is an IFTA mileage calculator that will give them the amount of money they may owe at the end of the quarter. Remember, tax rates change. If an IFTA prep program doesn’t have the current rates, the report may be off somewhat.
(TruckingOffice updates the rates regularly, so you can trust our numbers. Those “free IFTA prep” websites? Do you know if they’re doing the job?)
In Month 3 of the IFTA quarter, you may be able to reduce your IFTA bill by buying fuel in those other states. The ones you drive through but never stop.
But I don’t know those stops. It’s going to mess up my HOS timing if I have to stop in a state when I don’t need to buy fuel.
This is the strategic planning part of IFTA. Over time, we’ll figure out where to stop, the easiest places to get in and out quickly, and who has the best coffee. The IFTA mileage calculator gives you the data you need to make those decisions and act on them so that IFTA Month 4 – the month that you file and pay – is less painful.
Do you have a reliable IFTA mileage calculator?
You do if you use TruckingOffice PRO.
Not only do we update the tax rates in a timely fashion, we track your miles from the moment you enter your dispatch. Every load’s miles are accounted for, along with those deadhead miles. You can relax knowing that your IFTA report will be accurate. And it’s fast! Without having to reenter data in to an IFTA prep software, you won’t spend hours repeating work. TruckingOffice PRO gets those numbers and your expenses for fuel (and taxes) when you enter the data for the invoices. It reuses those numbers so you don’t have to reenter any data.
Give TruckingOffice PRO a chance to show you how to be strategic with your IFTA tax filing. Our free trial will prove that in one quarter, you’ll save enough to pay for a year of the best trucking software on the market.
Use TruckingOffice PRO to run your entire trucking business.
- IFTA and IRP reports
- Trucking business reports
- Maintenance records and scheduling that meets FMSCA and DOT audit requirements.
Our free trial will give you the time to enter last quarter’s data and get an accurate IFTA report to file. So entire program is free. You can sign up now, take care of your IFTA filing, and discover what a complete trucking management software program can do for you. Give us a try now!