Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Surviving an IFTA Audit

In our last installment of IFTA 101, we covered some ways to avoid an IFTA audit. Quarterly reports with non-continuous miles or skewed MPG are just some of the red flags for IFTA auditors.

But even if you avoid these pitfalls, there is still a chance that you will be chosen at random for audit. This is because each base jurisdiction is required to audit 3% of IFTA accounts per year. If any lucky trucker can win the IFTA audit lottery, that means you need to be prepared to avoid potential penalties.

So how can you be ready? Daily diligence in keeping records is the only solution. This may sound like a hassle, but if you ever get that phone call, you will be relieved knowing you don’t have to scramble around your cab and dig crumpled receipts out of every crevice! Five minutes a day keeps the penalties away!

Documentation required can be broken down into two simple groups: Distance Records and Fuel Records. Monthly and quarterly summaries are not sufficient alone, so keep all original reports and hard copies.

Distance Records must contain the following:

Basic information about the driver and vehicle:
    • Driver’s signature and name
    • Registrant’s name
    • Vehicle Fleet number
    • Vehicle Identification Number 
    • Trailer number
Trip Information:
    • Start and End dates of the trip
    • Trip Origin and Destination
    • Routes of Travel
    • Odometer/Hubometer readings from start & finish
    • Total Trip Miles/Kilometers
    • Miles/Kilometers by Jurisdiction
Remember that personal and leased miles must also be included.

Fuel Records must contain the following:
    • Original receipts for each purchase. Copies or scans are not acceptable. Keep them in good condition and do not write on or alter them in any way.
    • Date of purchase
    • Seller’s name and address
    • Number of gallons/liters purchased
    • Fuel type
    • Price per gallon or total of sale
    • Unit numbers 
    • Make, model, and gross weight of the licensed vehicle
When withdrawing from Bulk Fuel, a bulk metered record must also be kept. Record the date of withdrawal, number of gallons, fuel type, Unit or VIN number of vehicle you’re filling, and the purchase/inventory records from the initial bulk fuel purchase. This verifies that tax was paid.

If these records are kept organized and legible, you’re several steps closer to surviving an IFTA audit. Here are a few more survival tips:
  • To stay organized easily, print your Trip Record on an 8 ½ x 11 envelope and store fuel receipts inside.
  • Use a G.P.S. to automatically track and upload your miles, but be careful. Not all systems track mileage precisely enough for tax purposes, so be sure that your G.P.S. is IFTA approved. 
  • Routes taken must be accurate as auditors know details, such as when and where construction was taking place, detours, closed bridges, etc.
  • Supporting documentation for the last 12 quarters should be stored in your base jurisdiction, or you may have to pay travel expense and per diem for the auditor to access them.
  • Cooperate with the auditor to the best of your ability. Avoiding phone calls or not providing the correct documents will only increase the likelihood of penalties. Also, the four-year retention requirement will be extended until you cooperate. 
With some diligence and cooperation, your IFTA audit should be pain-free and over in no time!

Truck Services of North America is here to help with all of your IFTA needs. As a premier processing agency, we will prepare your quarterly returns based on the information you provide us and file it directly with the state department.

The deadline for filing HVUT Form 2290 is also approaching. If you’re short on time, we can take care of that for you and much more! To see the array of services we offer, visit, and send us a Service Request Form, email us at or call 803.386.0320. Our goal is to eliminate that bothersome paperwork and get you back on the road!

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