Thursday, July 17, 2014

Avoiding an IFTA Audit

Did you know that each base jurisdiction is required to audit 3% of its IFTA accounts per year? This policy
is in place to ensure that all drivers are keeping accurate fuel and mileage records according to IFTA standards— meaning that any driver can be selected at random for an audit, sometimes with little or no time to prepare. 

However, not all audits are determined at random. Quarterly IFTA filings are reviewed to check for
inconsistencies and errors. As such, inaccurate or insufficient record keeping could trigger an audit. So what can you do to avoid being audited?

Of course, the best way to avoid–and to survive–an IFTA audit is diligent record keeping. The reports, along with the originals, should be kept on hand for four years after the filing date. Beyond these basics, there are a few common mistakes drivers should steer clear of. These will give the appearance of non-compliance, even if you are doing everything right.

Here are some red flags for IFTA auditors:

  • Non-continuous Jurisdictions: Trip logs must show continuity from the starting point to the destination, with every district in between. It’s impossible for a vehicle to begin in California and suddenly be in Utah. This is a glaring error to auditors.
  • Gaps in Mileage: This occurs when your end of the day trip logs don’t match up with the beginning of the next day. Often this happens because drivers don’t realize that their personal or leased miles must also be included on the trip logs. 
  • Over-simplified Fuel Calculations: When reporting fuel, it is not acceptable to divide your miles traveled by a predetermined Miles Per Gallon estimate as MPG will naturally fluctuate. The precise fuel use and mileage must be recorded.
  • Skewed MPG: If your average MPG varies drastically from one quarter to the next, there needs to be a legitimate reason, such as different road conditions, varying weights of the loads carried, etc. If the reason is not apparent, it could trigger an audit.
  • Excessively High/Low MPG: The average MPG for a heavy vehicle is between 5-10 MPG. If your MPG falls outside of this range, there is likely an error in calculations. Moreover, some states will not let you file your IFTA return until your MPG is within that range.

Remember that even if you avoid these pitfalls, there is still a chance that you will be chosen at random for audit, which means you need to be prepared in order to avoid potential penalties, such as double taxation or even license revocation for non-compliance.

If the paperwork required for IFTA is getting out of hand, Truck Services of North America is always here to help. We not only calculate the tax amount due and prepare the return based on the information provided to us, we also file it directly with the state department. We also file HVUT Form 2290, IRP, and much more on your behalf, cutting down on paperwork and increasing time you can spend on the road.

To find out more about the array of premier services we offer, visit, and send us a Service Request Form, email us at or call 803.386.0320. You’ll always speak to a real person, not an automated system. And if we don’t already know the answer to your question, we will find it!

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