Friday, June 27, 2014

Hazardous Materials Registration

The Hazardous Material Registration Statement Renewal deadline is only days away. June 30, 2014 is the deadline. You can apply online, by mail or contact Truck Services of North America.

If you are a person that offers for transportation or transports in commerce a shipment containing hazardous materials, including hazardous wastes, you are required to to file a registration statement with the U.S. Department of Transportation and to pay an annual registration fee. This program is administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  The registration period runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

Penalties For Failure To Register: The requirement to register is based on the federal hazmat law. The enforcement of this requirement is conducted cooperatively by federal, state, and local agencies. Federal, state, or local officials may impose penalties for failing to register or failing to meet the recordkeeping requirements.

Copies of the registration statement and the certificate of registration must be kept for three years at your principal place of business and must be available for inspection. Motor carriers and vessel operators must also have on board a copy of the current certificate of registration, or another document bearing the current year’s registration number identified as the “U.S. DOT Hazmat Reg. No.” Every truck or truck tractor or vessel you use for the transportation of a hazardous material that meets the registration criteria must have this proof of registration on board.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2290 Filing Period for 2014-2015 Tax Almost Here - PreFile Now!

The Form 2290 filing period for HVUT 2014-2015 tax year opens July 1st. Each Heavy Highway Vehicle weighing 55,000 pounds or more must file Heavy Vehicle Use Tax on an annual basis using Form 2290. The deadline is August 31st, beat the rush & prefile with Truck Services of North America.

A Vehicle is considered to be a taxable vehicle if it was operating on public roads between the tax periods of July through June. A vehicle is also considered to be taxable 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).

As a premier processing agency, Truck Services of North America can file your Form 2290 Heavy Highway Use Tax for you. Just give a call at 803.386.0320 and have the following information:
  • Business Details
  • EIN, Employer Identification Number
  • (VIN), Vehicle Identification Number
  • Gross Weight of the Vehicle (Combined with maximum load)
  • Form of IRS payment,  either Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFT), Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) or Check/Money Order

Once we receive your signed authorization form via fax or email, we file your return and send you a copy of your Stamped Schedule 1. We can even send it to your employer for you!

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Prepare Now For 2nd Quarter Filing Season

If you have an IFTA license, you must file the Quarterly IFTA tax return to your base jurisdiction, even if you did not operate or purchase any taxable fuel in an IFTA member jurisdiction during the specific quarter. You will need to separate your mileage and fuel records for each fuel type.  

Kentucky, New Mexico, New York & Oregon also require a use tax license if you operate in that state. Each license requires a quarterly return must be filed. June 30, 2014 is the end of the 1st Quarter and the deadline to file your returns is July 31, 2014.

What you need:
  1. Mileage log-whether you use manual trip sheets, GPS, or electronic trip sheets; it is not only necessary to have in order to file your quarterly IFTA, but you will need these if you are ever audited.
  2. Fuel Receipts-you will need to know how many gallons of fuel were purchased in each state.

As mentioned above, in addition to IFTA, if you travel in Kentucky, New York, New Mexico or Oregon you will also need to file a Weight Distance Tax Return, in each state.

New York Highway Use Tax (NYHUT)
  • Carriers operating certain commercial motor vehicles that weigh 18,000 lbs or greater in New York are required to register and obtain NYHUT tax credentials. Once a NYHUT account has been established, carriers must file and pay mileage tax on a quarterly basis.
Kentucky Use Tax (KYU Number)
  • All commercial motor vehicles (except buses) with a gross weight of 60,000 lbs and over traveling into or through Kentucky must be registered with the state. Carriers with an active KYU Number are then required to file a quarterly return and pay mileage taxes to Kentucky. New qualifying vehicles must be listed with Kentucky prior to the vehicle entering the state. Temporary permits are also available.
New Mexico Weight Distance Tax
  • All commercial motor vehicles with a gross weight in excess of 26,000 lbs. must be registered with the state before traveling into or through New Mexico. Entrance can be paid at the port if not registered; however, it is not cost effective to pay at the port unless you travel through New Mexico only once or twice per year. Once a Weight Distance Tax account in New Mexico is established quarterly reports must be filed and mileage tax paid.
Oregon Weight-Mile Tax
  • All commercial carriers with a gross vehicle weight in excess of 26,001 lbs. must obtain a temporary or annual permit to travel into or through Oregon. Oregon does not belong to the International Fuel Tax Agreement; however, a proper tax permit must be obtained before entering this state. Heavy fines are imposed on carriers entering into Oregon without the proper credentials.
  • Oregon requires all new entrants to become bonded before permanent credentials are issued. Bonds may be placed by a Surety Company or posted with cash. The size of your fleet will determine the amount of the bond required.

A quarterly is required to be filed even if you had no operations.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

HazMat - Did You Know?

Here is a recent question we received from one of our customers regarding HazMat Certificates of Registration.
My company does not transport any hazardous materials, another company picks up and takes the HM from our facility. Does the mean we are not required to obtain a HM Certificate?
Not necessarily. If your company is involved in any of the pre-transportation functions, you may be required to have a HM Certificate of Registration.

Pre-transportation function means a function specified in the HMR that is required to assure the safe transportation of a hazardous material in commerce, including—
(1) Determining the hazard class of a hazardous material.
(2) Selecting a hazardous materials packaging.
(3) Filling a hazardous materials packaging, including a bulk packaging.
(4) Securing a closure on a filled or partially filled hazardous materials package or container or on a package or container containing a residue of a hazardous material.
(5) Marking a package to indicate that it contains a hazardous material.
(6) Labeling a package to indicate that it contains a hazardous material.
(7) Preparing a shipping paper.
(8) Providing and maintaining emergency response information.
(9) Reviewing a shipping paper to verify compliance with the HMR or international equivalents.
(10) For each person importing a hazardous material into the United States, providing the shipper with timely and complete information as to the HMR requirements that will apply to the transportation of the material within the United States.
(11) Certifying that a hazardous material is in proper condition for transportation in conformance with the requirements of the HMR.
(12) Loading, blocking, and bracing a hazardous materials package in a freight container or transport vehicle.
(13) Segregating a hazardous materials package in a freight container or transport vehicle from incompatible cargo.
(14) Selecting, providing, or affixing placards for a freight container or transport vehicle to indicate that it contains a hazardous material.

To find out more about what is required contact the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration at (800)467-4922.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

2014 Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)

What is UCR?
The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Plan and Agreement are part of a Federally-mandated, State-administered program where states collect an annual fee from motor carriers, motor private carriers, freight forwarders, brokers and leasing companies, based on the number of qualifying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in their fleets. The filing is required by December 31st of each year. The revenues generated will be used for enforcement of motor carrier safety programs.

Who is Subject to UCR?  
All motor carriers (for-hire, private and exempt) – as well as brokers, freight forwarders, and leasing companies operating in interstate or international commerce are subject to the new UCR.   Entities based in Canada and Mexico that are involved in interstate or international commerce in the United States are also subject to UCR.

If your state does not participate in UCR, you must register using another state as your base state.

You are required to maintain 3 years proof of UCR registration, so if you operated in 2012 or 2013, you will want to make sure you registered for those years.

2012 & 2013 UCR are PAST DUE!
States are implementing UCR audit procedures that in some states can be in excess of $1000 for your first offense.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Importance of Good Record Keeping In The Trucking Business

Many of our customers have shared with us that they simply do not have the time to deal with all the paperwork that is involved with a trucking business.  At Truck Services of North America, our main goal is to take the paperwork out of your way so you can focus on the road.

We continue to build relationships within the industry to meet whatever needs our customers may have.  We are excited that through working with Trucker Tax Service (TTS), we can now refer our customers to a company specializing in trucking taxes and bookkeeping.

Here’s a bit about what Jim O’Donnell has to say about the importance of keeping good records.

Have just one receipt fly out the cab window and it can cost you hundreds. Lose a few receipts and you could be out thousands...

If you own your own authority or drive as an Owner Operator or Lease Operator, according to the IRS, you’re a small business owner. If you have just one truck you drive yourself, or you own multiple trucks, with multiple drivers, either way, the IRS classifies you as a small business owner and expects you to maintain monthly bookkeeping records on that small business.
Have you ever been audited by the IRS? If yes, then you know how painful an audit can be, both financially, via fines and interest, as well as the time it takes you off the road earning income. An easy to use bookkeeping program can keep you in compliance with the IRS and remove the stress of a potential audit.

The lack of poor record keeping is by no means exclusive to the truck driving industry. Many a report on business failures cites poor management as the number one reason for the failure of small businesses. New business owners frequently lack relevant business and management expertise in areas such as finance or monthly record keeping.
Unless they recognize what they don’t do well, and seek help, truck drivers inevitably face disaster. Failure to keep a truck operating and profitable is very common among OTR drivers. The failure has less to do with the loads the driver secures on a job board or with the company where the driver currently contracts, then the lack of knowing if their small business is in fact profitable.
A solid percentage of drivers have little to no knowledge if their business is actually making money.
Drivers or small companies, who have control of their bottom line numbers, are always the most successful businesses on the road!

TAP (Truckers Advantage Program) offered by Trucker Tax Service, Inc. Say goodbye to being confused by the numbers and take control!

When tax time rolls around each year, as a TAP member, TTS will already have everything we need to maximize your allowable business deductions and to complete your tax return right away.

Truck Services of North America thanks Jim for sharing his knowledge on the subject.  If you have any tax or bookkeeping questions, contact Jim at (888)-799-1099 or

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Tips to Minimize Shipping Broker Liability by Paige Herring

Our featured contributor in Issue 3 of our quarterly Newsletter, Trucking Info Hub, is attorney Paige Herring, of Scott, Sullivan, Streetman & Fox, P.C. in Jackson, MS. As a general practice firm, they offer services in Business/Corporate Law, Professional Liability, Insurance Law among other areas.

In the article below, Paige shares his knowledge on Broker Liability.

Over the past ten to fifteen years, the usage of shipping brokers has grown exponentially.  This is especially true over the latter half of that period with the growth of the internet and the usage of websites which allow trucking companies (or brokers) to bid or solicit for work.  While these types of arrangements create savings and facilitate speedy communication, they can result in potential exposure. While no one can guarantee that you will never be sued, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce your exposure if you engage in brokerage services.

Most legal arguments are generally grouped into two categories, negligence and respondeat superior liability.  The negligence prong is based upon the simple fact that the broker is obligated to take reasonable steps to select a carrier who is safe, prudent and conscientious - in a word - responsible.  If a shipping broker fails to have any type of vetting process to determine the competency of the carriers it selects, then the risk of liability increases.

The respondeat superior argument is premised, in large part, upon the actions of the broker after the contract for shipping is bound. Essentially this legal theory creates liability on the part of an employer for the acts of an employee. Brokers often think that they can avoid liability for the acts of the employee of another. Normally they can, but the age of ever-present communication has intruded upon this legal bar to liability.  Some brokers require daily updates, regular telephone calls, documentation during the trip and/or monitoring of the trip.  This creates a situation for an astute attorney to argue that the broker is, in fact, the carrier, operating in the guise of a broker.  Put another way, the more you run the show, the more likely you pay the dough.

Finally, the contracts and shipping documents governing the shipment should not be neglected. Legal liabilities can often be transferred, assumed, or minimized by contractual language.  You need to insure that your role and responsibilities are clear.  For example, if you are the broker, make sure that you are not listed as the carrier on any of the shipping documents.  This may not eliminate your liability, but it reduces your profile and potentially eliminates a legal issue as to what your responsibilities were in the transaction.

In conclusion, there is no magic formula. No legal case has created a nationwide standard for avoiding broker liability. What has emerged, from a variety of cases and jurisdictions, is that to reduce your exposure as a broker, you must have a process in place to determine if a carrier is safe, responsible and reliable.  When you finally select a carrier, you have to trust that carrier to do its job. Lastly, the contractual and shipping documents need to clearly define and limit the scope of your work.

Truck Services of North America thanks Paige for his time and expertise on this subject.  If you have any questions regarding broker liability, please contact Paige Herring at 601-607-4800 or

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Issue 3 of Trucking Info Hub - Here To Keep You Truckin’

The 3rd issue of Trucking Info Hub - Here To Keep You Truckin’ the quarterly newsletter by Truck Services of North America is now available. In this issue you will find upcoming deadlines, including the 2014-2015 Form 2290 Filing and Hazardous Materials Registration Renewal Deadlines, and informative content on the legal pitfalls in broker liability and the importance proper record keeping for truckers.

Trucking Info Hub is provided by TSNAmerica as a complimentary service and is for informational purposes only. Always consult a professional to address specific legal concerns regarding your business needs.

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