And it’s not about getting it done early this time.
Checking your IFTA report a month before the end of the quarter lets you know what states you’ve gone through and what states you’ve purchased fuel in. If you’ve been through a state a number of times and never bought fuel there, then maybe you want to buy fuel in that state to offset the hit you’ll take from the IFTA taxes at the end of the quarter.
Here in Ohio, we know that we can buzz right through Indiana in a couple of hours and never buy fuel there. But I know I’m going to take that hit every quarter.
Do Something Different
In the big companies with 500 trucks, they’ve got people on staff who look at these numbers and statistics. We small fleet and owner operators don’t have that kind of analysis done by a paid statistician. The best we can do is take a look at our numbers on our IFTA report and see if there are states where it would be smart to buy fuel there in the next 30 days.
Some people would say that I’m either brilliant or being too caught up in details that don’t matter. I don’t argue with either of them (although I like being called brilliant.) I’m working the system the best way that I can. I’m doing something different, not doing something wrong.
How do you look at your IFTA in February?
If you’re doing your IFTA by hand, I guess you’ll probably ignore this post. If you wanted to start working on the IFTA now, you’d already be doing it.
If you’re using trucking management software to produce an IFTA report, it’s pretty easy to run one and look at it.
When thinking strategically, you need data to make wise decisions. If you’re using a system that you submit your data to an accountant, you’ll end up paying to get the data analysis. Maybe it will reduce the time (and how much you pay the accountant) in April, but you’ll still be paying. Wouldn’t it be better to have access to those numbers without paying extra?
Sometimes it pays to try to do something different. You know your business better than anyone else. You need the tools to decide what you should try next.