Preparing quarterly International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) reports may seem overwhelming, but it is an essential part of truck driver taxes. Four times per year, fleet managers and owner-operators file this fuel mileage report to redistribute tax dollars used for maintaining the highways used by commercial truckers.
To file IFTA, drivers report trip and fuel information, which is used to compute the fuel mileage tax owed to each state for that quarter. Learn about this year’s IFTA quarterly fuel tax schedule and what this tax obligation means for your trucking company.
Understanding the IFTA quarterly fuel tax schedule
IFTA is a streamlined tax agreement for American states and Canadian provinces to collect tax from trucking companies for the use of their roads. Rather than having to purchase a fuel permit for each state in which they operate, the IFTA makes it easier for fleets to pay their fuel usage tax to the appropriate jurisdictions.
The IRS mandates that truck owners file IFTA fuel tax reports at the end of each quarter four times per year. After filing the report, you also must pay the necessary taxes by midnight on the due date. These taxes are essential for improving and maintaining the infrastructure on which truck drivers rely.
IFTA quarterly fuel tax schedule due dates
Here are this year’s due dates for filing IFTA:
|For 2023 Period||Due Date|
|Quarter 1: January – March||May 1|
|Quarter 2: April – June||July 31|
|Quarter 3: July – September||Oct. 31|
|Quarter 4: October – December||Jan. 31, 2024|
* IFTA fuel tax reports are due on the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. If the due date lands on a weekend or holiday, it is extended to the next business day.
What happens if I miss the IFTA reporting deadline?
Missing an IFTA quarterly fuel tax schedule deadline is penalized in much the same way as not filing other taxes. Late IFTA submissions, failure to file and underpayment result in fines of $50 or 10% of the net tax liability, whichever is greater.
Even if no tax is due, you still face a $50 late filing penalty. All delinquent IFTA taxes are also subject to interest penalties until the tax is paid.
What you need to file an IFTA return
A few types of documentation are needed to calculate an IFTA quarterly report. Be sure to keep track of your mileage records, fuel receipts and trip reports throughout the quarter or use a transportation management system (TMS) to track data for IFTA reporting.
Valid IFTA credentials
Unfortunately, IFTA credentials must be renewed each year, but the good news is that you can complete the process online. Make sure each vehicle in your fleet carries a copy of your license, along with two decals.
IFTA taxes are based on the amount of fuel consumed in each state or province driven through over the quarter. Accordingly, to distribute fuel taxes accurately, the total taxable and nontaxable miles traveled by IFTA licensees must be tracked for each jurisdiction. Updated state and province tax rates are available on the IFTA website.
Each time you fill up your commercial truck’s tank, you need to save the itemized receipt for IFTA reporting. Each receipt should include the type of fuel purchased, price per gallon, number of gallons purchased, total price paid and your vehicle registration number. Fuel cards and other freight solutions can help keep track of these expenditures.
Trip reports provide a detailed overview of each trip logged within the quarter for a particular truck. For IFTA purposes, these reports must include:
- Trip dates
- States or provinces traveled
- Odometer start and end
- Trip type
- Any non-taxable distance
- Toll and non-toll miles
- Fuel purchase details
- Route information
To file an IFTA report, you will need to gather some information about your business and vehicle. These details include:
- Truck or unit number
- Vehicle class, make and model
- Fuel type
- Fleet name and number
- Company name and address
- Employer identification number (EIN)
- Type of business
Can you file your IFTA quarterly taxes online?
E-filing is the easiest and most popular option for filing your quarterly IFTA report. You can file electronically using Webfile or EDI software. Some TPSs can prepare ready-to-file reports based on automatically recorded data to streamline filing further.
Filing IFTA fuel tax reports for tax compliance
Mark your calendar for May 1, July 31, October 31 and January 31 because that’s when IFTA reports are due. By maintaining good records throughout the quarter, you can avoid the stress of last-minute filings.
The formula for calculating IFTA tax is the total miles driven in each state divided by the overall fuel mileage in gallons.
Taxable gallons refer to all fuel purchased at retail fuel stations and pumped into the propulsion tank of an IFTA-qualified vehicle.
A few things can trigger an IFTA audit, including late returns, amended returns, fuel consumption discrepancies, large refunds and closed accounts.
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