Tuesday, March 25, 2014

IFTA Filing Services

The filing period for 1st Quarter IFTA opens April 1, 2014. Truck Services of North America can prepare and file for your.  We have packages to suit your needs, from the very basic to the complete.

We have the following IFTA Packages:

  • IFTA Basic: $75 Quarterly + State Fees
    • Send us total miles and fuel purchased per state at the end of the quarter and we file for you.
  • IFTA Premium: $95 Quarterly + State Fees (additional vehicle fees will apply)
    • Send us copies of trip sheets & fuel receipts and we calculate and file for you. Does NOT include auditing. We report the information exactly as we receive and no questions asked. Send on monthly basis and save $15 per quarter! (Info due no later than the 15th of the following month to qualify for the discount!)
  • IFTA Complete: $150 Quarterly + State Fees (additional vehicle fees will apply)
    • Send us copies of trip sheets & fuel receipts, we calculate AND audit the information. Auditing includes checking state adjacency, missing miles & fuel reported. Information MUST be submitted on a monthly basis. (Price reflects monthly discount. Information due no later than the 15th of the following month, if received after the 15th late fees may be incurred.)
These packages are for IFTA Services only, any state use tax filings are additional. If you would like to use our IFTA Filing Service, simply choose your package and let us know and we’ll take the paperwork out of your way!
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

IRP Renewals

What is IRP?
IRP is the International Registration Plan that is an agreement for the registration of commercial motor vehicles involved in interjurisdictional travel throughout the 48 contiguous United States and 10 provinces in Canada.

Benefits of IRP?
IRP facilitates the collection and distribution of registration fees you pay between member jurisdictions while reducing the requirement of multiple license plates, cab cards or registration trip permits The fees are based on percentage of total distance the registered fleet of vehicles operated in each jurisdiction.

What are the IRP fees used for?
The fees are used to support highway infrastructure and safety related programs providing safer, more efficient highways.

IRP Renewals
The IRP renewal period and process varies from state to state.  Contact your base jurisdiction to determine when your IRP expires and what the process is in order to get it renewed. For more information on IRP, check out, your base jurisdiction or TSNAmerica to handle your renewal for you.  

Jurisdiction Responsibilities
  • Register apportioned vehicles
  • Calculate, collect and distribute fees
  • Audit carriers
  • Provide required information to carriers
  • Enforce requirements

Registrant Responsibilities
  • Applying for IRP registration
  • Provide proper documentation
  • Pay IRP registration fees
  • Display registration credentials
  • Maintain accurate distance records
  • Make records available for review

Importance of maintaining accurate records
Clear and accurate record keeping is critical to the fair assessment and distribution of IRP registration fees. Records must be maintained for 3 years after the close of the registration period. If requested for an audit, they must be made available.  

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Monday, March 17, 2014

The Dos & Don’ts of a DOT Safety Audit by Jason Engkjer

Our featured contributor for Issue 2 of our quarterly Newsletter, Trucking Info Hub, is attorney Jason Engkjer, of Kalina, Wills, Gisvold & Clark, PLLP in Minneapolis, MN.  As a general practice firm, they offer services in Transportation Law, Employment Law, Corporate, Business & Tax Matters among other areas.

In the article below, Jason shares his expertise on DOT safety audits.
A U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) audit can be stressful for a motor carrier. The key to navigating an audit is to understand the dos and don’ts before, during and after the audit. Here are a few suggestions to help the motor carrier through the audit process.
DO implement a written set of recordkeeping protocols before an audit ever occurs. Written protocols can prove helpful for a number of reasons. First, written protocols help ensure compliance with federal recordkeeping laws. Second, written protocols provide your safety and recordkeeping managers with a quick reference guide in the case of a question. Finally, showing a DOT inspector a set of written protocols can help mitigate a violation the inspector may discover during the course of the investigation. Thorough and accurate recordkeeping will lead to a successful audit.
DO NOT, after receiving notice of an audit, attempt to re-write or falsify records. Obviously the wrong thing to do, but carriers attempt to re-write, and even falsify, records after receiving an audit notice. Never attempt to falsely revise or re-write records before an audit. Falsified records carry a hefty price that can include substantial financial penalties, criminal prosecution, and a downgrade in the carrier’s safety rating. Consult with an attorney before you revise anything.
DO control the audit environment. Inspectors may attempt to conduct a “surprise” audit. Scheduling is a relatively murky issue, but try to reschedule the inspection to a later convenient time for you and the inspector. Request the list of records the inspector wants to review well before the audit. Have those records ready the day of the audit, and be prepared to locate additional documents during the audit. On the day of the audit, provide the inspector with a separate room to review documents. Do not allow the inspector to wander around the terminal unescorted or randomly interview employees. If the inspector asks to interview someone, schedule the interview for a later time. Assign a staff member to sit with the inspector during the audit to observe and obtain documents. The staff member should not talk substantively with the inspector without a supervisor or counsel present. Most importantly, be polite and cooperative. If you feel the inspector is overstepping bounds, contact your attorney.

DO NOT sign anything before consulting with an attorney. An inspector’s job is to enforce motor carrier laws and regulations. However, inspectors may pressure carriers into signing documents during or immediately after an audit. The form may look fairly benign. Other times, the inspector may ask the motor carrier to acknowledge violations to support a later Notice of Claim (NOC). Do not succumb to the pressure or sign any document without consulting your attorney first. If you do receive a NOC, contact your attorney immediately to discuss the violation(s), the penalties, and your options to contest the NOC or negotiate a settlement.

Navigating a US DOT audit can be a daunting task. Following a few simple rules will not only help lead to a successful audit, but keep the roads safe for all.
Truck Services of North America thanks Jason for his time and expertise on this subject.  If you have any questions regarding audits or any other transportation law related matters, please contact
Jason Engkjer at (763) 259-3458 or
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How To Avoid IFTA Penalties

IFTA is the International Fuel Tax Agreement between the 48 contiguous States and 10 Canadian Provinces, where the member jurisdictions act cooperatively to administer and collect motor fuel use taxes.

Under IFTA, you are required to file Quarterly Fuel Tax Returns, if you hold an IFTA license, regardless if you operated or not.  If you did not operate and no fuel was used, you would submit a “zero” report. IFTA Returns are due on the last day of the month following the end of each calendar quarter. 1st Quarter IFTA Returns are due April 30, 2014.

What can you do to avoid penalty for late filing?
  1. Prepare Now - Don’t wait until the last minute to try to get your records together for the entire quarter.  Keep track of your miles and fuel as you go.  This saves you a lot of time (and stress) in the end.
  2. Know the rules - By holding a valid IFTA license, it is your responsibility to be aware of the rules and to abide by them. If you do not know, find out what they are.
  3. Keep proper records - this will help you should you ever have to go through an IFTA audit.
  4. File on time - tax reports must be postmarked no later than midnight on the date indicated. If the last day of the month falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the next business day will be considered as filed timely.

At Truck Services of North America, we make it even simpler by preparing and filing your quarterly returns for you.
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Friday, March 7, 2014

Form 2290 Phone Filing

IRS Form 2290 is the form used to file Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) for taxable vehicles.

What is a Taxable Vehicle?
A vehicle is considered to be a taxable vehicle if it was operating on public roads between the tax periods of July through June and if it has a taxable gross weight of at least 55,000 pounds and travels at least 5,000 miles during the tax period (7,500 miles if used for agriculture).

When Do I File Form 2290?
Heavy Vehicle Use Taxes must be filed using the Form 2290 on an annual basis. The Tax period for Heavy Vehicles begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th of the following year. The annual renewal of your Form 2290 for a new tax period IS DUE BY August 31st each year.

For new vehicles placed in service, the IRS Form 2290 must be filed by the last day of the month following the month of first use. For example, if you purchase and first use a vehicle in January, you must file a Form 2290 by the end of February.

Can I File Form 2290 By Phone?
On the road and unable to file on your own?  No problem, just give Truck Services of North America a call and we’ll take care of it for you.  We take all your information over the phone and submit it to the IRS on your behalf!  All we need is your information and a signed Form 8453, giving us the authorization to file for you.  We can send you the form, you sign it and send it back and we take care of the rest. We will even send your Stamped Schedule 1 to your employer for you!
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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

TSNAmerica Can Prepare & File Your Quarterly IFTA

March marks the final month of 1st Quarter for IFTA.  IFTA is the International Fuel Tax Agreement, an agreement between the lower 48 states of the United States and the Canadian provinces (except Northwestern Territories, Nunavut and Yukon), to simplify the reporting of fuel use by motor carriers that operate in more than one jurisdiction. Under IFTA, you are able to file one return in your base jurisdiction and that jurisdiction will allocate the money appropriately.  This agreement definitely simplified what used to be a very long and time-consuming process.

The deadline to file your 1st Quarter IFTA return is April 30, 2014.  Good record keeping now helps you avoid rushing around at the last minute and possible lates and/or penalties.

Who is required to file?
This tax is required for motor vehicles used, designed, or maintained for transportation of persons or property and:
  • Having two axles and a gross vehicle weight rating or registered gross vehicle weight in excess of 26,000 pounds, and/or
  • Having three or more axles regardless of weight, and/or
  • Is used in combination, when the weight of such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds gross vehicle or registered gross vehicle weight.

Exceptions exist for Recreational Vehicles (such as motor homes, pickup trucks with attached campers, and buses when used exclusively for personal pleasure by an individual). Some states have their own exemptions that may apply to farm vehicles or government vehicles, so check your state for their specific exemptions.

What is Required?
The following information is required on the IFTA quarterly tax return:
  • Total miles, taxable and nontaxable, traveled by the licensee’s qualified motor vehicles in all jurisdictions, IFTA and non-IFTA, including trip permit miles;
  • Total gallons of fuel consumed, taxable and nontaxable, by the licensee’s qualified motor vehicles in all jurisdictions, IFTA and non-IFTA;
  • Total miles and taxable miles traveled in each member jurisdiction;
  • Taxable gallons consumed in each member jurisdiction;
  • Tax-paid gallons purchased in each member jurisdiction; and
  • Current Tax Rates for each member jurisdiction.

As a premier processing agency, Truck Services of North America can set up your IFTA accounts and file your Quarterly IFTA Taxes for you.  You just send us the required information and we handle the rest!
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Monday, March 3, 2014

IFTA Decal Grace Period Ended

The deadline to renew your 2014 IFTA license was December 31, 2013, but most states recognize a grace period to display your 2014 decals. Be advised, the grace period to display 2014 IFTA decals ended on February 28, 2014.  While some states renew IFTA licenses automatically if accounts are in good standing, most states requires renewal paperwork to be submitted either by mail, in person or online.

If you have NOT renewed or displayed your 2014 IFTA decals, you will want to do so immediately to avoid possible fines and/or penalties.  Those fines and/or penalties may vary from state to state.

Note: Your IFTA license will not be renewed if your account is not in good standing.  What that means is you are current with your Quarterly IFTA filings and have paid all taxes, penalties and interest due.  If you missed any quarterly filings, you will want to file immediately so you will be able to renew your 2014 IFTA license.

If you have not renewed your 2014 IFTA license or have outstanding quarterly tax returns, contact Truck Services of North America. As a premier processing agency, TSNAmerica not only can assist with renewing your IFTA license and filing your quarterly returns on your behalf, but we also keep you compliant by reminding you of the quarterly filing deadlines.

March is the final month of first quarter 2014 and the filing deadline will be April 30, 2014. Prepare now to avoid the stress of rushing around at the last minute to meet the deadline.  
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