When you’re a teenager, scary is roller coasters, horror movies, going shopping with your mother, and going to bed before your parents.
Now that you’re a trucker, scary is the IFTA.
WATCH OUT! THE IFTA MONSTER IS GOING TO GET YOU!
Remember back when your dad chased you around, shouting about monsters coming to get you?
It gets real when you sit down and look at the IFTA forms. Drive across a state line and all of a sudden, parts of your life disappear into a giant black hole. Add another state line and more time disappears as you spend more and more hours trying to figure out the miles and the taxes and the fuel already purchased.
At some point, I wanted the zombies to catch me and put me out of my misery.
Who You Gonna Call?
(If I could find a way to work Ghostbusters in here without getting into some copyright fight, I’d do it.)
For many owner-operators, the IFTA is something they’ve come to dread every quarter. The International Fuel Tax Agreement was established to make paying fuel taxes faster and more efficient for those trucking companies that operate in multiple states or jurisdictions. However, staying on top of the required IFTA reporting forms isn’t always easy, especially for those of us who would rather be out on the road making money than filling out what feels like endless paperwork. Anyone who has dealt with IFTA before can tell you that submitting fuel tax reports can be a time-consuming, tedious process, especially when it comes to accurately recording your miles and fuel receipt information. At the end of each quarter, you have to submit your latest IFTA report and you must ensure that the report is 100% accurate.
Even the smallest error on your IFTA reporting form can subject you to serious fines and penalties and could end up having a negative impact on your business. That is why it is so important that you understand the IFTA reporting requirements and how to remain compliant. With all the time you have to spend tracking your mileage and fuel records for IFTA, you want to make sure the forms are filled out correctly so you can avoid being penalized or audited.
As you can see, filling out your IFTA reporting forms is a big part of being an owner-operator.
Filling Out Your IFTA Report Form
Filling out your IFTA reporting forms is a big part of being an owner operator. Unfortunately, all it takes is a basic mistake to land you in deep trouble with this essential aspect of operating your business. Here are the most common errors we see:
- Using only logbooks instead of daily trip reports. Your logs by themselves may not have all the information you need to fill out your IFTA forms accurately.
- Forgetting about unloaded, bobtail, or personal miles, all of which must go into the records.
- Waiting till the last minute. Nothing messes up IFTA reporting forms faster than filling them out hastily. Unfortunately, many drivers view this task as an afterthought. The trouble is, the revenue service has a different perspective. So make it a priority to complete your tax records in a timely fashion. That’ll help you make sure you have time to do them correctly and to correct any needed errors before filing.
- Using a GPS device that’s not IFTA-compliant. This can be tricky, because many devices claim to be compliant when they’re not. So check reviews and choose one that will meet your needs. Failing to do so will haunt you.
- Using hand-written notes as a basis for your IFTA reporting forms. Relying on coffee-stained messages scrawled in bad light with a pen that’s running dry is asking for problems. The best solution is to employ a computer-based approach unless your penmanship is superb and your eyesight is perfect.
- Not taking advantage of the powerful solutions modern technology provides. Why spend hours adding up numbers when you don’t have a ghost of a chance to do better and faster than a computer ever will?
If you’re still taking care of paperwork the old-school way, you don’t know what you’re missing. TruckingOffice, the ultimate trucker’s assistant, can bust out tasks that used to take you hours. Besides streamlining your IFTA reporting forms, it can also help you to keep track of loads, record miles with uncanny accuracy, dispatch invoices in a timely fashion, and maintain your fleet in tip-top condition. Find out for yourself how good TruckingOffice is by taking it for a free 30-day test drive today.