Wednesday, July 8, 2015

IFTA: Avoiding an Audit

We’ll start you off with a little known, yet very important fact; every base jurisdiction is required to audit 3% of its IFTA accounts per year. Doesn’t seem very fair, does it? Well it’s not, but that won’t keep you from being affected by the rule.

The policy is in place as a safety precaution to be sure that all drivers are keeping accurate fuel and mileage records. Because of this, any driver can be randomly selected for an audit at any time, often with little or no notice.

While many are random, there are also several other reasons for your base jurisdiction to decide to audit you. Below we’ve listed some of the most common reasons for an audit so you can be sure to avoid them.

Reasons for an Audit

Reporting False Information on Application: When applying for an IFTA license, be sure that all of the information you submit is correct and accurate. Even if it’s not intentional, submitting false or incorrect information is taken very seriously and is a great way to get audited by your base jurisdiction.

Gaps in Mileage: This issue occurs when the mileage on a trip log from the end of a day doesn’t match up with the mileage beginning the next day. This happens quite often on accident, as many drivers don’t realize that their personal or leased miles must also be included on trip logs. Mileage recorded should include all interstate and intrastate movement, including loaded, empty, deadhead, and/or bobtail miles.

Skewed MPG Calculations: Another great way to immediately draw a red flag with your base jurisdiction is to have a large amount of variance in your miles per gallon calculations. If that is the case, there needs to be an obvious reason for the discrepancy, such as different road conditions, varying weight loads, etc. If there is not a clear reason for the variance, it will more than likely trigger an audit.

The range of your miles per gallon should also fall within the average of 5-10 mpg. If your MPG falls outside of this range, then you have most likely made an error during your calculations. Some states will actually not even allow filings that are not within that range.

Non-continuous Jurisdictions:
When completing your trip logs, they must show continuity from the starting point to the destination, including every district in between. If you have your trip logs ending in one state, and they start back with you in the middle of another state, you can bet your tail you’re going to get audited.

Decals Missing or Not Displayed Properly: Not having proper decals or not maintaining them for the proper amount of time can also be a costly issue. All decals are required to be accounted for and maintained for 4 years, and a detailed inventory list must be kept in case of an audit that includes:

  • Vehicle numbers (VIN, license plate, and unit number)
  • Assigned decal numbers 
  • Date the decals were assigned
  • Any special notes with relevant vehicle information (truck wrecked, painted, etc)
Random Selection: This is by far the most common reason for an audit. Even if you can avoid all of the above issues, there is still a chance that you can be chosen at random for an audit. So be sure that even if you’re compliant with all of the IFTA rules and regulations that you have all of the proper documentation, that way the process is as quick and painless as possible if you do ever have to deal with an audit.

If you don’t have time, or don’t want to deal with all the paperwork and calculations that accompany an IFTA return, Truck Services of North America is always here to help. We’ll not only calculate the amount owed for your return based on your trip sheets, we’ll file it for you. Just give us a call at 803.386.0320 or email us at, and let TSNAmerica work for you. We also offer several other trucking services, so if you need any help filing your Form 2290 or registering for your IRP, we can do that, too!

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