It’s time to file IFTA. You don’t normally think of it as a goal, do you? But an IFTA goal is a smart idea for your trucking business, especially an owner-operator: IFTA goals can change your business.
What’s an IFTA goal?
Pretty simple, really. An IFTA goal is to pay your IFTA taxes on time – or early – without needing to finance the payment. That means you’ve got enough on hand to pay the entire amount at the beginning of the month.
Asking too much? For many truckers, IFTA doesn’t so much sneak up as it does haunt our dreams – appropriate for October, but really? Who wants to be scared by taxes? Goblins, yes. IRS? Not so much.
How do you cover your IFTA payments?
Because the amount due isn’t clear until the last day of the quarter, trying to save the exact amount is nothing more than a SWAG (scientific wild-ass guess.) Guess – absolutely. Wild-ass – sure feels like it. Scientific? Not very much.
Since most of the IFTA agencies will accept a credit card payment, we can just finance the payment by paying the bill with one. We can stretch out paying the balance over a couple of months.
The one drawback to this is that you end up paying interest to the credit card company. That effectively increases the tax payment and reduces your profit.
When the deadline approaches, if you’re low on cash, you might try factoring – getting a loan against a contracted load. That might make for a lean month if you’re selling your income to pay a bill – and taking a loss on it as well. We’re not saying factoring is bad – sometimes, it’s the only way to finance a load. It’s just not a great way to pay your taxes.
Personal loans cover a number of options.
- signature loan at a lending institution
- title loan against a vehicle
- borrowing from family members or friends.
People sometimes need help. And we’ve all been in a place where we needed help – or helped someone out. While these are certainly options, they again pin us down in repayment options. And if we don’t repay them in three months, we may be in deeper for the next quarter’s taxes.
Owner-operator IFTA goal
In our series about trucking goals and trucking business plans, we talked about various financial topics. This goal wasn’t directly expressed so we’ll put it out there now: save yourself from the anxiety and the financial pinch by having enough cash saved for your next IFTA filing.
How do you do that?
- Know what you can expect to owe.
- Get a savings system in place to keep the funds.
- Pay yourself by setting aside the funds after each load.
The second item isn’t very hard. You can find any bank – even the one you use right now – that will allow you to set up a debit card account.
The third item is mostly a discipline or habit. Because you may not get paid for several weeks or a few months, you’re setting aside money out of your wallet now. This may discourage you from putting the money aside. But if you look at it as paying yourself instead of paying the bank, it may feel better even if the money is tight now. Next quarter, when you’re not paying off the past quarter’s IFTA taxes, you’ll be in a much better position.
How do you know what to save?
An owner-operator IFTA goal wouldn’t be possible without TruckingOffice Trucking Management Software. It’s not just our inbuilt IFTA calculator.
How is the IFTA tax going to be calculated without the miles per state?
The Total Package
When you use TruckingOffice PRO Trucking Management System, the solution to this mystery is under your fingertips. When you enter a dispatch, at that very same moment, you have the ability to create your routing. With the routing comes the miles per state – without you entering a single number. Then you’ve got constant access to an IFTA calculator with current tax rates.
It’s still an estimate. After all, Ohio changed its fuel tax rates just a couple of months ago. But it may be close enough that you can make up the difference without resorting to factoring, loans, or credit cards.
That’s why you need a total trucking management system – a trucking office in your cab. TruckingOffice PRO offers you access to PC*Miler – the US Government approved mileage calculator. It creates dispatches and invoices with the same data – no re-entering data. IFTA and IRP reports are at your fingertips.
Are you looking for one program to do it all? Maybe that should be your goal too? But right now, an owner-operator IFTA goal can change your business for the better. Even more, you can try it for free. We’ll give you a free trial to examine the entire TruckingOffice program now to use the IFTA calculator for the past quarter!
No more reliance on SWAG. No more taking a loss on IFTA. It’s time to build your trucking business by achieving your owner-operator IFTA goals.