The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is a program designated for interstate carriers in the United States and Canada. Recordkeeping requirements under IFTA are exhaustive, but they are the heart of IFTA compliance.
Tracking your IFTA records electronically can benefit your employees — and your company — by keeping your records more accurate, organized, and accessible, making you better prepared in the case of an audit.
Track All Miles
Many carriers have questions about what miles must be counted for IFTA. The answer is all of them. All miles traveled, regardless of the situation — work- and non-work-related — must be counted.
Under IFTA, carriers must maintain records verifying the miles accrued by a vehicle in each jurisdiction. The operational source documents are known as Individual Vehicle Mileage Records (IVMRs).
Many carriers are now keeping their IFTA mileage data electronically through either an electronic logging device (ELD) or another mileage tracking device. Most of these mileage tracking systems will capture the required information and provide adequate records in the event of an audit. However, you’ll want to make sure your provider retains the right types of records and keeps them long enough to satisfy IFTA requirements. You must also ensure the records are accessible and understand how you obtain them in case of an audit.
Don’t Forget Fuel Receipts
Fuel receipts are also an essential part of the recordkeeping process. Electronic receipts are acceptable under IFTA. Many carriers use fuel cards, and if your company uses them, rest assured that fuel card reports are an acceptable form of fuel receipts.
However, there will be times when a fuel card can’t be used at the pump. Perhaps a driver loses the card, or it stops working for any reason (the card is faulty, or a truck stop’s systems are down, for example). In these cases, whether cash or other forms of payment are used, drivers need to keep physical receipts so you can accurately report fuel purchases.
Keep Records Long Enough
Under IFTA, you are required to keep the records used for your quarterly tax return for four years from the return due date or filing date, whichever is later, plus any period included as a result of any penalty assessments. These records include all your mileage records, fuel receipts, and unused IFTA decals (if applicable).
Electronic IFTA Recordkeeping Give Everyone a Break
Electronic recordkeeping, such as provided by J. J. Keller® Encompass Fleet Management, can be a benefit to everyone in your company. Drivers no longer need to fill out paper trip reports or collect fuel receipts at the pump, and your office staff no longer needs to match up fuel receipts with driver trip reports. Electronic records also make organization and storage much more straightforward.
Proper recordkeeping is key to staying in compliance with IFTA requirements. Staying in compliance with IFTA involves diligence, but keeping your records electronically can help keep them more organized and accessible in case of an audit.
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