What Is IFTA? With ExpressAmber

If you've wondered what IFTA is and if you need to file it, then this is the post for you! ExpressAmber has the answers to your questions!

Hey everyone, today we’re going to talk about IFTA. We’re going to define what IFTA is and when it’s due, and what you have to report, so stay tuned.

So, way back a long time ago, I did another video about what IFTA is, and it was hugely popular because IFTA can be confusing, right? And part of my job is to make it less confusing for you. So, if you have some questions and you want to go watch that video, you can. But this is going to be kind of an updated version for you.

What Is IFTA?

IFTA is the International Fuel Tax Agreement, and basically what that means is that all of the states, the continuous States, got together and they said, “Okay, instead of having somebody send their money here and here and here and here and here and here, we will all get together, and you will have to have a basically an IFTA license.”

So, you’re required to file IFTA. Um, there are a couple of things that determine this. Um, number one is 26,000 pounds or more, that’s gross weight, um, three axles or more, and crossing state lines. Now, if you are at least on with a company, most often that company is going to take care of IFTA, but that’s really, that’s probably written in your lease agreement and you want to check that or check with the company to see who’s responsible for filing IFTA. 

But if you are an owner-operator and you’re operating under your own authority and your truck meets any of those requirements, 26,000 pounds or over, three axles, and crossing state lines, then you are required to file IFTA. If you’re staying in your state, let’s say that you are in South Carolina and you only travel in South Carolina, you are not required to file IFTA or to have IFTA stickers. Now, there are some states that have intrastate decals and that’s different, that’s not IFTA but it looks a lot like IFTA. Um, and so a lot of states, um, if they have that, you’re even if you’re staying just in their state, you will have an intrastate sticker and again, you’re required to do quarterly returns on that as well, but that’s very few states.

So again, IFTA is required if you’re an owner-operator, if you’re under your own authority, and you have a vehicle that’s crossing state lines. This is when IFTA is applicable to you. The other thing is, most of the time, the plates and IFTA go together. If you have to get your own plates for your vehicle, IFTA and IRP kind of go together like brother and sister. So if you qualify for IRP or those plates, then you’re qualifying for IFTA as well. 

How Does IFTA Work?

Now, once you have that IFTA decal or license, then you are required to do a quarterly report and you submit that to your base jurisdiction, to your state. Let’s say that you live in Florida and you have Florida decals, then every quarter, you submit a report to Florida. And the report says, “I drove in these states this many miles, and I purchased this many gallons of fuel in these states.” And you need to calculate all the tax rates, and the tax rates change, so you have to be really careful about that. And I’m going to tell you a really cool way that you can just do this automatically, and you don’t have to worry about the tax rates because we update them automatically.

Once you submit that report, you’ll figure out: do I owe additional tax or do I get a refund? The best way that I can tell you is that where you are driving, you should be purchasing fuel. I’ve had drivers who try to avoid doing that, and when they prepared their IFTA report, if they had, let’s say, 500 miles in Pennsylvania and they didn’t purchase any fuel in Pennsylvania, well, now you just owe that tax on the quarterly report instead of just paying at the time. 

What happens when you purchase fuel when you drive is it pretty much evens itself out. So when you go to prepare your report at the end of the quarter, it’s pretty even, and you might owe a little bit or you might even get a refund. So it really just depends on where you drive, the states that you drive in, and their tax rates. But that’s basically how IFTA works. It’s based on the mileage that you drive in each state and the gallons of fuel that you purchase in each state. So that’s kind of the flat line of it all.

The Easiest IFTA Solution

We’ve got a product called TruckLogics that does this for you. It does all of the calculations for you, so you enter the information and we take care of the calculations. We give you a report, and then you submit that to your jurisdiction. So it just depends on again how you’re going to enter that information.

We have an integration with Motive where you can bring all that mileage in automatically. We are also integrated with EFS, so if you have that fuel card, that comes in automatically as well. There are other options, such as bulk uploading that information. So if you have any other ELD, you can just download that information, upload it to your TruckLogics account, and then enter your fuel information, and we do the calculations on the back end for you. Once you generate your report, it prints it out, and you just submit that to your jurisdiction. 

So, a lot of jurisdictions have basically an e-file system where you log into your account, you enter in your totals. You can’t go there and say, “Oh, in Florida on January 4th, I drove 50 miles. I also drove 100 miles in Georgia.” You need to be able to enter in your totals, and that’s what TruckLogics gives you, your total. So, for the first quarter, I drove 150 miles in Florida, I drove 200 miles in Georgia, I drove 300 miles in South Carolina, and I purchased this many total gallons of fuel in each of those States.

So, you have the report there in front of you. You enter that information right there on the site, you file, you’re done. One of the really important things with IFTA is that you have to file your quarters in order to renew your IFTA license. So, when it comes time to renew your license at the end of the year, let’s say that you missed your second-quarter report. They’re not going to renew your IFTA license until you go back and file that second-quarter report and pay those taxes or whatever that might be. Then, you’ll be able to renew your IFTA license. It’s very, very important for you to keep up with your IFTA deadlines, and one of the great things about TruckLogics is that we give you those reminders. Every quarter, we’re sending you out reminders, “Hey, it’s time to file your report, go ahead and get that done today.” 

Try TruckLogics Today

If you have not tried TruckLogics, go to TruckLogics.com, and there’s a sign-up button, and you can see how easy it is to prepare your IFTA report with TruckLogics. So, if you do have any questions, feel free to reach out to our support team. Again, we’re here Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 5:30. You can reach us by email at [email protected]. You can also call us at 704-234-6946.

But go create your TruckLogics account today and get started.

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