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Thursday, September 24, 2015

3rd Quarter Filing Starts October 1!

No, you aren’t reading the title wrong - IFTA season is almost here again! We know it feels like the 2nd quarter just ended, but now the 3rd quarter is almost in the books, too. So don’t put off filing and leave yourself with a giant IFTA mess at the last minute. Give us a call and let us sort it out for you; that’s what we’re here for!

IFTA Filing


3rd Quarter IFTA filing officially opens up next Thursday October 1 - and the deadline to file your return is October 31, 2015. If you prepare yourself now, you can avoid rushing around at the last minute. Also note that if you have a valid IFTA license, you must file a quarterly return even if you didn’t operate in a member jurisdiction during the 3rd quarter.

To file you’ll need to have your:

Mileage Log- Whether you use manual trip sheets, a GPS, or electronic trip sheets; you’ll need to have your mileage handy to file your quarterly IFTA return. It’s also necessary in case you ever face an audit from your base jurisdiction. (If you do you’ll thank us.)

Fuel Receipts- You will need to know the total amount/type of fuel purchased in each state.

Once you have all your mileage and fuel purchase information ready, and it’s seperated by state, just send it on over to us and we’ll get your filing taken care of for you!

Other 3rd Quarter Taxes Due in October


And as many of you know, along with IFTA filing season comes the filing season for several other state specific use taxes including:

Kentucky Use Tax (KYU)- Kentucky requires all commercial vehicles with a gross weight of 60,000 pounds or more traveling either into or through Kentucky to be registered with the state. Once registered, drivers will receive a KYU number and are then required to file a quarterly return and pay mileage taxes to the state of Kentucky. If you are only traveling through the state for one particular trip, temporary permits can also be obtained.

New Mexico Weight Distance Tax- All commercial vehicles with a gross weight over 26,000 pounds are required to be registered with the state before traveling in or through New Mexico. If you are not already registered, entrance can be paid at the port. Once a weight distance account has been established for you in New Mexico, you are then required to file quarterly reports and pay tax on the mileage you travel.

New York Highway Use Tax (NYHUT)- New York requires carriers operating motor vehicles that weight 18,000 lbs or more to register and obtain New York Heavy Vehicle Use Tax credentials. Once you have a NYHUT account established, you must then file and pay mileage tax every quarter.

If you operate in any of these states and you don’t have temporary trip permits, you’ll need to file. The filing period for all of these special use taxes opens next Thursday October 1, 2015, along with the IFTA filing period.

So once again, and we cannot stress this enough, DO NOT wait until the last minute! Why would you when you can just call up your friends at TSNAmerica and have us do it for you?

As a premier processing agency, Truck Services of North America can assist with your your IFTA, NY HUT, KYU, and New Mexico Use Taxes. TSNA takes the paperwork out of your way, so you can get back to your busy day. You can view a full list of our services here, but feel free to call us at 803.386.0320, or email us at support@tsnamerica.com with any other questions.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trucking Industry Update

We know it’s been a bit since the last one and you’ve probably been itching for it… so here it is, the latest trucking industry update! This time, we’re going to be focusing on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and and the initiatives set for the last three months of 2015.

How do they affect you, you might ask? Well, it’s the FMCSA’s job to do everything in its power to keep you safe. Don’t you like being safe and knowing what’s going on in your own industry? Of course you do, because there’s nothing wrong with being a well-informed trucker, and that’s why you’re going to keep reading to see the FMCSA’s newest initiatives!

FMCSA Yearly Initiatives


Safety Fitness Determination (SFD):

Currently, the FMCSA is in the process of publishing a new rule that would greatly increase the use of inspection data when making Safety Fitness Determinations of motor carriers. The new proposed rule would change the process for assessing the performance of truck companies to focus more on current performance information, such as roadside inspection and crash data. If you don’t like this rule, well, you may be stuck with it anyway. Although luckily for you, the FMCSA is giving everyone the option to voice their opinion. So if you don’t like it, you can tell them personally!

Inspection Modernization:

The FMCSA has officially launched a new version of their inspection software, called Aspen 3.0. It’s got a new look and feel, as well as lots of new and innovative features. The software includes many roadside functions, and even allows law enforcement officials to get direct access to out-of-service notices. So if you’re driving out of service you may want to rethink that, because it’s about to be much easier for them to find you!

Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) Phase III:

In order to prepare the launch of its final two CSA interventions, the FMCSA is working on training federal and state investigators. One of the biggest safety measures being implemented is the crash BASIC investigation, which will focus on specific trends that are most common in carrier crashes. Seems like that might be useful, right?
In addition to spending more time analyzing crashes for contributing factors, the FMCSA will also be fine-tuning its SMS algorithm to do a better job of identifying carriers to investigate. Once the changes are made official, they will be announced in a Federal Register notice. We’re not sure exactly how this works, but if you think your company could be at risk for an investigation, you better get it together fast!


Electronic Logging Devices (ELD):

Here’s the rule you’ve been hearing about a lot recently, and also the one that you’re probably the least excited about. Sense some sarcasm? Maybe just a tad. But in all seriousness, we know that most truckers across the nation are dreading the implementation of this rule, but it’s looking more and more likely that it’s only a matter when, not if. That’s right, the final ELD rule is currently under review and is scheduled to be published later in the year.

Don’t think this rule is going to help you? Take a look at why the FMCSA sees the rule as “beneficial to all parties,” and maybe it can change your view.

  • It is estimated that by improving the hours of service (HOS) compliance, up to 20 fatalities and 400 injuries can be prevented each year. 
  • The electronic logging systems will save companies time and money.
  • Drivers will be protected from harassment. The devices will keep companies from forcing drivers to drive for longer than the mandated period under the HOS agreement.
  • Law enforcement agencies can now view and review driver HOS records with ease.
Still not liking the idea? Yeah we don’t blame you, but it’s looking inevitable, so the best thing to do now is prepare yourselves!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about any of these new rules or implementations, just let us know! Just kidding, please don’t do that; take all those issues up with the FMCSA! They’re always happy to receive feedback from trucking professionals like yourself.

If you have any other trucking related issues, that’s where we come in. We offer a ton of services for trucking professionals, so if you need anything taken care of for you, just give us a call at 803.386.0320 or email us at support@tsnamerica.com.
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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Winds of Change Coming In Wyoming

Anyone traveling through Wyoming must brace for unusually strong gusts of wind that can topple an empty rig in the blink of an eye. This article will focus on gentler winds, i.e. changes in Wyoming law and attitude that are still worthy of your attention.

Wyoming made national news in April when two huge pile-ups occurred on I-80 within a single week, raising concerns about highway safety along our vast open spaces. While truckers have always known to “expect the unexpected,” Wyoming weather and abundant wildlife can surprise even the most experienced drivers! Bluebird weather one minute can change to dense fog or ground blizzards the next, and pulling off to the side of the road has its own risk as everyone else is trying to do the same. It can become one big tragic cluster in seconds.

This is why the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) opposed legislative bills to raise the speed limit from 75 mph to 80 mph on long, lonely stretches of our interstate highways. The patrol reasoned that higher speeds would result in less reaction time to our unpredictable everything and urged Wyoming lawmakers not to raise the limit. Those patrol worries did not win the day. So, Wyoming motorists enjoy the higher speed limit, but the WHP is showing less tolerance for those exceeding the limit even by a few miles per hour.

Several months ago it came to light that the WHP tied raises, promotions, and bonuses to ticket quotas, setting off a firestorm of criticism that resulted in discarding such policy before lawmakers felt compelled to introduce bills to formally stop the practice. The negative public sentiment toward the WHP changed quickly after the April pile-ups as the patrol worked tirelessly in horrible conditions to rescue accident victims and clean-up the carnage for days afterward.

Newspaper photos of the scene from both accidents showed multiple mangled semis and prompted a number of letters to the editor urging truckers to drive more cautiously. What few outside the industry realize is that truckers cannot stop on a dime and are as susceptible as any other driver to sudden zero visibility.

Like the Serenity Prayer, we seek patience to accept what we cannot change, and strength to change what we must. Obviously, operators can lessen risk by making sure their equipment and their brains are in good working order and capable of handling higher highway speeds and adjusting to sudden changes in conditions.

Another wind of change in Wyoming has been greater protection for persons using non-motorized modes of transportation. During the last legislative session, a law was passed that requires motorists to allow bicyclists three feet when passing them on the roadway. This happened, mind you, when legislators were also considering whether to increase the speed limits on two-lane roads (where cross-country bicyclists are more likely to travel). If safety is a top priority, increasing the speed limit on two-lane roads may not be such a wise choice. Such a law has not yet passed.

Truckers traveling on rural roads and in town should be aware that Wyoming school buses are now equipped with video cameras, so as to more easily identify and prosecute those drivers who pass a bus that is stopped with flashing red lights. This development occurred because of the death of a little girl exiting a school bus who was hit by a passing motorist ignoring the flashing bus lights.

For several years, Wyoming law has required motorists to move to the passing lane when passing a stopped patrol car with flashing lights on the side of the road…if you can safely do so. Traffic is beyond your control but maintaining reasonable speeds to allow maneuverability is still in your control.

Wyoming lawmakers have been keenly aware of the dangers of distracted driving. Hand-held cell phone use is banned in most cities and towns, and texting while driving is forbidden everywhere in the State. Marijuana remains illegal in Wyoming but not in neighboring Colorado. I’m wondering if I’m the only one who has noticed a distinct change in the flow of traffic in Colorado since marijuana became legal. Too often now, I cross into Colorado on I-25 and see a number of drivers appearing completely unaware of how slow they are driving and what effect that is having on other motorists. Their “happy zone” is my frustration.

Another small wind of change that is of particular interest is a new Wyoming law that deals with towing abandoned or disabled vehicles. The Wyoming Department of Transportation removes vehicles when an operator cannot. Law enforcement must now choose from a rotating list of tow truck companies, something that was not done in the past.

Lastly, truckers whose native language is not English, should be aware of English Comprehension Examinations that, by law, WDOT personnel can administer at a Port of Entry if they have reason to believe that the trucker does not have a sufficient grasp of the English language in order to understand roadway signs and signals. Unfortunately, the results of the test may be considered “passing” by one patrolman at the Port of Entry on the eastern border of Wyoming, while the same test with the same results by the same trucker on the western border is considered “failing” by a different WDOT grader. The subjective nature of this makes it vulnerable to criticism as patently unfair. The ACLU has raised a number of objections and concerns about this test in recent years but the ACLU just closed its Wyoming office so will no longer be around to try to right this wrong.

As you can see, Wyoming laws and attitudes have changed only slightly this year. People in this State are generally grateful for all that the trucking industry and individuals bring to us. By constantly expecting the unexpected, you will be doing your part to prepare for and adjust to those wild, windy things you cannot change or control.

By: Deb Kellam, Hall & Evans, LLC
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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's Not Too Late to File Your 2290 Over the Phone!

Now that the deadline has passed, if you haven’t already gotten your 2290 filed it’s time to get going! You don’t want those IRS late fees and penalties to keep adding up on you, do you?

If you’re having trouble getting it filed or don’t know if you’ll have the time to waste in line at the IRS office, give us a call. Not only are we experts with trucking permits and registration, but we’re licensed tax professionals and can file your 2290 for you over the phone!

So why wait to get the 2290 out of your way, when you can call TSNAmerica and get your 2290 filed for you today!

What Do I Need?


All you need to do is make a five-minute phone call and give us your information. Here’s what you’ll need to have ready when you call:

  • Business Contact Information: You’ll need your business name, phone number, and address. Be sure that the information you give us matches exactly how it is registered with the IRS.
  • EIN: Employer Identification Number
  • VIN: Vehicle Identification Number
  • Taxable Gross Weight of the Vehicle: This number is the weight of your truck, trailer, plus the maximum weight that can be hauled in the trailer. If you are unsure of the taxable gross weight of your vehicle, it should be listed on the vehicle’s registration.
  • Payment Information: You’ll need to decide how you want to pay the tax fees, the IRS accepts payments via electronic funds withdrawal, EFTPS, or via check/money order. 

Once we have all that information, we’ll ask you if any of your vehicles are used for special purposes such as logging or agriculture, as it can affect your taxes. After we get all of your information, we’ll email you a copy of Form 8453 for you to sign and send back to us via email, fax, or postal mail, whichever is the most convenient method for you.

After we receive the your signed copy of the 8453, that gives us the “good to go,” and we’ll get your 2290 filed that day and send you a copy of your Schedule 1 as soon as your return is accepted.

So pick up the phone and make the five-minute phone call to TSNAmerica today, and let us take the paperwork out of your way.

If you have any questions about our 2290 e-filing service, you can give us a call at 803.386.0320, email us at support@tsnamerica.com, or you can fill out service request. Remember, we also provide lots of other trucking services, so be sure to let us know if you need help with anything else so that you can get back to trucking!
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