Have you started your own trucking company? Are you striking out on your own as an independent operator? If you answer yes to either of these two questions, you may be wondering where to start. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Whether it be navigating your annual IFTA filings or maintaining driver files, we’ve got the information you need. Let’s start by taking a look at the types of filings you will be required to understand and file on a regular basis.
International Fuel Tax Agreement Filings
The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is an agreement that was made between the U.S. and Canada to simplify the reporting of fuel usage by fleets who are operating in more than one jurisdiction.
A fleet operating with IFTA receives a license and decals for the qualifying vehicles that it operates. The carrier must also ensure a quarterly fuel tax report is filed. The report is then used to figure out if anyone gets a refund and how taxes should be redistributed throughout collecting states and provinces.
IFTA specifically covers vehicles that fall under the following descriptions:
- Having two axles and a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds
- Having three or more axles, regardless of the vehicle weight
- Is used in combination, when the combined weight exceeds 26,000 pounds
The tax is mandatory if a vehicle is used for the transportations of people and property. The requirement is also covered by weight restrictions. Exceptions are made for recreational and some farm or government vehicles, but those exceptions are state specific.
How it Works
The IFTA system uses a pay now or later principle. As you buy fuel, any taxes paid to the state is credited to your account.
At the end of the fiscal quarter, you must file a fuel tax report. On this report you will list all the miles traveled and all the gallons of gas purchased. At that point, the average fuel mileage is applied to the miles traveled and a tax liability is determined.
Just as happens when you file federal taxes, you will either receive a refund or owe money. Member states and provinces then handle transferring the funds accordingly. For more information on exactly how to calculate the final number, the state of Florida provides this handy worksheet.
Heavy Fuel Tax Filings
The Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) is a federal tax that is imposed on the use of any public highways by certain heavy motor vehicles. This list generally includes trucks, truck tractors, buses, and other types of motor coaches. The tax is applied to vehicles with a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more.
For a list of state fuel taxes for heavy motor vehicles, check out this website. The HVUT is an offshoot of the standard federal gas excise tax. Generally, these taxes go into various cleanup fees and programs run by the state and federal governments.
To file an HVUT, use IRS form 2290. Keep in mind that these forms must be filed through mail and cannot be uploaded or filed digitally.
The BOC-3 filing is required by the federal government and pertains to individuals or companies operating in the transportation or logistics industries. BOC stands for “blanket of coverage” and exists to assign a person in a business who can receive and send legal documents.
Companies operating as process servers are capable of granting BOC-3 filings. They must also employ or lease the service of individuals within each state and of course must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
BOC-3 filings are pretty uniform across the board, though different agencies may process things slightly differently. You might find one service only handling the BOC-3, while other may also offer services in safety, compliance, materials and other areas.
Your BOC-3 filing form can be found here.