Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Form 2290 Filing Mistakes and Penalties You Can Avoid

Truck back on the road after completing Form 2290 filing with no mistake and he avoided penalties
It’s official! The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) Form 2290 filing season is underway. But have no fear, you still have plenty of time for Form 2290 filing with our sister product, ExpressTruckTax. Their easy-to-use filing process makes Form 2290 filing simple and straightforward. We understand taxes can be confusing and often frustrating when trying to decipher IRS terminology, which is why we are sharing Form 2290 filing mistakes and penalties you can avoid. If you miss your Form 2290 due date or don’t correct an error, the penalties will make the whole tax situation even worse.

Form 2290 Filing Mistakes and Penalties You Can Avoid

Before we get into Form 2290 filing mistakes and penalties, let’s review what you will need to file.

  • Authorized signatory details
  • Business Name & Address
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)
  • Gross Taxable Weight
  • VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) 

With ExpressTruckTax you can pay 2290 with a credit card or debit this filing season. Or, if you pay to the IRS direct debit, you will need your routing and account number.

You are required to have an EIN for Form 2290 online. You cannot use your SSN (Social Security Number). If you still need to apply for an EIN, click here. Once you apply, it will take time for it to become active in the IRS system. It typically takes up to 10 business days for the EIN to become active.

Common Heavy Highway Use Tax Mistakes

Incorrect EIN

As I stated above, you are required to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to file your heavy use tax. An EIN is assigned to companies operating in the United States to identify them for tax reporting purposes.

An EIN is a string of nine digits just like your Social Security Number; however the format is different (EIN: 12-3456789 | SSN: 123-456-789), so you will be able to tell the difference. Because it is labeled as an identification number for “employers,” many have the misconception that they don’t need it for Form 2290 filing. If you attempt to use your SSN to file your IRS Form 2290, it will be rejected.

Incorrect VIN

Your Heavy Highway Use Tax will be rejected if your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is entered incorrectly. This mistake is easily understandable considering it is 17 characters long including number and letters.

Before you start the Form 2290 filing process be sure to whip out those glasses. Double and triple check your VIN to make sure you entered it correctly. However, our friends at ExpressTruckTax understand that mistakes happen which is why they offer FREE VIN corrections. 

Tax Calculation Errors

At ExpressTruckTax they understand that IRS tax calculations can be rough; which is why their system automatically calculates your owed tax amount. No need to worry about complicated tax math this Form 2290 2018-19 season. Plus, when you choose ExpressTruckTax you don’t have to pay right then, you can continue to save up until the Form 2290 due date on August 31. But don’t forget!

Heavy Highway Use Tax Penalties

Back on the road at last after filing his heavy highway use taxIf you can show the IRS reasonable cause for failing to file or pay your heavy use tax on time, you may avoid penalties. If you file after the Form 2290 due date, you will need to attach an explanation to show reasonable cause. However, your statement may or may not be accepted by the IRS.

The penalty for failing to file a correct heavy use tax IRS Form 2290 by the August 31st deadline with ExpressTruckTax is equal to 4.5 % of the total tax amount owed. This penalty will increase on a monthly basis for up to five months. The penalty for failing to pay your heavy highway use tax payment is .5% of the total tax owed. You will also face an additional interest charge of .54% per month this remains unpaid.

Depending on your base jurisdiction, your vehicle may be suspended until you can provide proof of road tax 2290 payment. This proof is your stamped Schedule 1 which you receive after your Form 2290 filing. You need a stamped Schedule 1 to renew your tags and register new vehicles. If you operate on a typical trucking tax year, your tags ran out on June 31st. Without your stamped Schedule 1 you will be operating illegally. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with that, so it’s essential you start and complete your Form 2290 filing with ExpressTruckTax and receive your stamped Schedule 1. 

ExpressTruckTax Makes Form 2290 Filing Simple

Now that you know what mistakes to avoid and what to avoid, it's time to start the Form 2290 filing process. The Form 2290 due date is right around the corner, so there is no time to waste. Our sister product, ExpressTruckTax provides you with a straightforward and convenient Form 2290 e-filing solution. Say goodbye to any Form 2290 filing hassles.

If you have any questions about Form 2290 filing our friends over at ExpressTruckTax are there to help. Their 100% US-based bilingual support team will never stick you with a robot or automated call system. Call to talk to a real person today! You can also contact them via live chat or email for support in both English and Spanish.

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Thursday, 12 July 2018

Are You Prepared For The Driver-Focused Blitz Week?

American trucker on the road during the CVSA operation safe driver week
The annual Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Operation Safe Driver Week will be July 15- 21st. Are you prepared for the driver-focused blitz week? During this weeklong enforcement spree, CVSA enforcement inspectors will be focusing on traffic violations, driver regulatory compliance, seat belt enforcement, and will conduct driver roadside inspections. According to the CVSA, driver behavior is the leading cause of accidents involving a heavy use vehicle. Driver behavior causes 88 percent of truck crashes and 93 percent of passenger vehicle crashes.

Are You Prepared For The Driver-Focused Blitz Week?

The CVSA will target the following during the Operation Safe Driver Week:
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Texting
  • Failure to wear a seat belt
  • Improper lane change
  • Failure to obey traffic laws

So what does this all boil down too? Mind your “p’s” and “q’s” during this week. However, if you are already obeying all of the rules of the road, you will be fine.

Last year approximately 39,000 citations and warnings were issued to truckers during the Operation Safe Driver Week. More than 85 percent of the citations given were for state and local moving violations. So during this week plan ahead by researching any state traffic violations that are particular to where you will be traveling. Also, pay careful attention to your surroundings.

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Tuesday, 10 July 2018

What Rookies Need to Know About The Jake Brake

What Rookies Need to Know About The Jake Brake
The jake brake or engine brake is an invaluable tool available to professional truck drivers. It is typically used for slowing down your rig in certain situations. It is not intended to replace your service brake, however. It uses your diesel engine’s power to slow your truck. Some truckers might use their jake brake on dangerous snowy roads or during severe storms. However, in recent years they have become a thoroughly debated topic among those in the trucking industry. Here is what rookies need to know about the jake brake.

What Rookies Need to Know About The Jake Brake

10 Tips and Tricks For Using The Jake Brake:

    1. The engine brake is excellent to use in normal conditions at virtually anytime you need to slow down.
    2. If you use the engine break correctly on mountain roads, it could add years to your brake shoes.
    3. Can prevent brake fires that are caused by leaving the top of a grade too fast, resulting in too much pressure on the brake pedal.
    4. Do not use the jake brake when the engine is cold.
    5. Always check to see if your engine is low on oil.
    6. In position 3 the engine brake is strongest, and positions 1 & 2 are used for better road conditions.
    7. Test your engine brake at the beginning of your trip once the engine is at operating temperature to ensure it is working properly.
    8. It runs on a ‘no fuel position’ meaning your foot is off the gas pedal. To activate you will take your foot off the gas when the jake brake is left on (it can be turned on and off as required).
    9. When driving down the mountain, it is preferred to start downgrade and allow the jake brake to do 90% of the work and only tap the brake pedal as needed. 
    10. Please don’t use it in a truck stop parking lot!

How to Use The Jake Brake

  • Leave it on
  • Flip it on as needed

Some truck drivers like to switch it to one when they start driving and leave it on. While others prefer to switch it on somewhere in the middle of their shift, as needed. Some say that it messes with shifting gears, but this is up to your preference and rig.

However, the consensus is that it is a convenient tool when needing to slow down a truck and many couldn’t do without it.

The ‘No Jake Brake’ Signs

What Rookies Need to Know About The Jake Brake
Ok, now we are going to go into the debate itself that we mentioned at the top of this piece. If you have your CDL, you have probably noticed the ‘no jake brake’ signs floating around various locations prohibiting the use of the jake brake.

Jake brakes or engine brakes do make an unbelievably loud noise which can be disturbing to those living near the highway or interstate. However, the general public needs to understand that truck drivers do not use the jake brake to upset those in the surrounding area it is merely a safety precaution.

The sound the engine brake makes is loud, and there is no point in trying to argue that point, but it is used to slow a 55,000 plus vehicle down.

To Jake Brake or Not to Jake Brake

It comes down to your preferences if you wish to use this stopping device. The advice listed above is merely to get you started and to educate you on the basics. You should always follow the advice of your training instructor or safety director.

Hey, wait! Before I let you go, just a quick reminder, your IFTA and HVUT taxes are coming up fast! Don’t get run over by the IRS and file now before it is too late. For more information on the upcoming Form 2290 filing deadline and IFTA fuel tax click here.

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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Owner-Operator vs. Company Driver: What You Need to Know

Owner-Operator vs. Company Driver: What You Need to Know
One of the most frequently asked questions in the trucking industry is whether to be an owner-operator or a company driver. While the driving and knowledge for either are the same, there are a few things to concerned before making a decision. Here is what you need to know about choosing between these two types of careers.

Owner-Operator vs. Company Driver: What You Need to Know

If you are currently a company driver considering a career as an owner-operator or an owner-operator thinking about driving a company truck and selling your rig, you need to weigh the pros and cons and choose which fits you.

Taking the leap of faith and becoming an owner-operator is never something that should be rushed. There is a high demand for drivers in the US currently, so time is on your side. If you want to buy your own truck be sure to think about your financial circumstances and everything that will be required.

While you might think a career as an owner-operator will mean more money this, however, is simply untrue. There are several company drivers (depending on their company) that make as much as an owner-operator.

Perks of Becoming an Owner-Operator

While there is no guarantee that you will have more money in your pocket as an owner-operator, you will have the potential if you are running your trucking business efficiently. Typically you will get paid for the extras where a company driver does not, because of the contractual agreement. There are also lower rates, especially when incorporated.

Another advance of being an owner-operator is, of course, owning your truck. You don’t have to deal with switching vehicles each run or other drivers messing with the equipment. You can choose the gear that works best for your needs and comfort. You can get your preferred brand of seating or any other equipment to personalize your convenience while on the road. However, it does sometimes come at a steep price.

As an owner-operator, you are your own boss, so you don’t have to worry about dispatching forcing you onto the road. You have freedom choosing loads and when you work. You will generally have more control over your job as a whole.

Cons of Becoming an Owner-Operator

Owner-Operator vs. Company Driver: What You Need to KnowNow that you know the perks or pros of becoming an owner-operator, let's look at some of the disadvantages. To start off as an owner-operator, you will need a good chunk of cash to start off with. Buying your rig will take a sizable down payment, and there is always a financial risk when it comes to the monthly payments. Also, you will need money left over after buying your rig to stay on the road and to cover any possible repairs that are required.

Compared to a company driver you will have more time off, however, this time will be mostly spent on repairs and maintenance. If you plan to have a repair shop do the work you will still need to take time to drop off and pick up, plus there will be a substantial expense. There is also business bookkeeping that must be completed to keep your business afloat. With all of this, there is typically not much time left over for quality family time.

Due to the risk of failure and the lack of downtime, you will endure a great deal of stress when it comes to being an owner-operator. Even when you are doing everything right, you are always at risk from the unexpected. Unexpected illness, repairs, truck payments, and everything else that comes with being an owner-operator will cause some stress. 

So What is the Better Option?

Some are completely satisfied with driving for a company because of the lower stress, while others love the independence and freedom that comes with being an owner-operator. It’s essential that you do your research to understand your options and what will be required. However, the bottom line is that you should not rush into a decision and this choice should be made for yourself and what you want from your career.

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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

How to Beat The Worst July 4 Traffic?

How to Beat The Worst July 4 Traffic?
With rising consumer confidence, a stronger economy, and the lowest gasoline prices we have seen in years, truckers can expect a lot of four-wheelers on the road this weekend. This Independence Day the AAA has estimated 41.9 million travelers for the holiday weekend. This is up 0.7 percent from last year and the highest number we have seen since before the recession.

How to Beat The Worst July 4 Traffic?

The AAA says that the worst congestion can be expected around metropolitan areas as holiday travels are combined with regular commuters.

“This Independence Day will be one for the record books, as more Americans take to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways than ever before,” Bill Sutherland, senior vice president of AAA Travel and Publishing, said in a statement from the company. “Confident consumers with additional disposable income will look to spend on travel this holiday, building on an already busy summer travel season.”

How to Beat The Worst July 4 Traffic?At TruckLogics. we hope you will spend this Independence Day with your friends, family, and loved ones, however, if you find yourself on the open road, we want to share our appreciation. It is through the untiring resolve of those like yourself in the trucking industry that we can celebrate. Your trucks have brought us the fireworks, hotdogs, buns, charcoal, and grill that we all get to enjoy.

So thank you for your dedication and determination in serving millions of Americans across the nation. We appreciate your continued efforts to keeping America moving. You truly are the backbone of the economy. Happy Independence Day!

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Thursday, 28 June 2018

Hilarious Trucking Memes You Need to See

Today we have decided to switch things up by bringing you some hilariously trucking memes from around the web. Without laughter, we may cry, and some days the trucking industry can make grown men weep, so it’s time to take our minds off all the trucking stress. So much has been happening in the news lately with new regulations self-driving trucks, tornadoes, and more! It’s time to take a load off with some gold ole fashioned trucker entertainment, and no one gets the business like the people who made these! Check them out.

Hilarious Trucking Memes You Need to See

Share A Laugh

Have a good one today. Wherever you travel spread humor along the way with your favorite trucker memes and jokes. We hope we were able to provide a laugh with these top trucker memes and appreciate all the hard work you do.

Follow us on Facebook for more memes!

A Quick Reminder

Before we let you go, we wanted to remind you that the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax or Form 2290 filing season is officially here. Instead of waiting in a long line at the IRS or postal office, you can quickly complete your Form 2290 filing online with ExpressTruckTax. Plus, the process is incredibly easy with our step-by-step filing guide. Complete your IRS Form 2290 in just a few minutes and transmit it directly to the IRS. Get your stamped Schedule 1 today!

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

5 Healthy Habits For Truckers on The Road

5 Healthy Habits For Truckers on The Road
Living a healthy lifestyle while on the road might seem impossible but it can be done. As an over-the-road trucker, driving long distances can keep you away from home for weeks at a time. Trucking is a tough position that keeps you sedentary for hours at a time. Many rely on caffeine and junk food to help pass the time and get energy. Rest stops are a contributing factor to this issue. In a single stop you can fuel up, shower, eat, and get your truck serviced. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not only crucial to your well-being but your overall success. Here are five healthy habits for truckers on the road to keep you energized and prevent burnout.

5 Healthy Habits For Truckers on The Road

Healthy Meals on The Go

Most grocery stores and Walmart supercenters will have enough parking for your rig although you may have a bit of a walk. Since we live in a world of convenience, there are nutritious options even at gas stations even though they don’t sound as appetizing as a bag of chips. Here are a few options to try.

  • Pre-washed spinach and lettuce
  • Pre-washed fruits and vegetables
  • Grilled turkey and chicken

I would suggest investing in a portable grill for future trips. However, fortunately, most grocery stores will have a deli section with cooked food ready to go.

Regular Exercise

Exercising doesn’t have to be impossible. You drive for approximately 11 hours a day, take 10 hours off then rinse and repeat. Here are some healthy exercise options to consider on the road:

  • Folding bicycle
  • Running shoes
  • Weights
  • Pedometers

The Value of Sleep

Getting a good nights sleep is essential for your health and safety. Since you practically live in your truck for weeks or even months at a time, it is critical that you don’t settle for the cheapest mattress and pillow. Invest in a quality berth mattress with the firmness/softness that you need to get your best nights sleep.

Another way you can make this time on the road more comfortable is by purchasing a portable fan and heater. If by some chance your truck breaks down you will likely need a way to stay warm or cool down while waiting for assistance. 

Mind as Well as Body

Let face it mile after mile can sometimes get monotonous. It is easy to get distracted or over think. Distracted driving is never good but overthinking or dwelling on something can cause emotional distress while on a long haul. Try carrying up your drive with some of these following options:

  • Audiobooks
  • Podcasts
  • Music
  • Language Tapes

Weeks Away From Home

It is a fact that the life of a professional truck driver can keep you away from home for weeks or more. Being apart from your family for long periods of time can be tough, Anxiety, depression, and of course, loneliness is universal among truck drivers.

5 Healthy Habits For Truckers on The RoadOne way to connect with your family when you are home is to share stories of your travels and send them pictures along the way. Tell your children where you will be going next. Look up the history of the states or locations along the way and send pictures back home. This is a great learning experience, and they will be more interested in your job.

One way you can connect with your spouse is by reading a book together. This can either be an audiobook or paperback. Next time yall talk on the phone or over Skype you can share what you liked most about the chapter or book. You might find things in common you never knew.

Simplify Your Trucking Business

TruckLogics is a cloud-based trucking management software with plans and tools designed specifically for your business. From dispatches to expenses reports our array of features will save you both time and money. Spend less time worrying about the business aspect and get back on the road faster.

Click here to start your 15-day free trial and see for yourself the difference TruckLogics can make in your business.

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