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What is IFTA?

by TCS Fuel | April 25, 2019

IFTA

What is IFTA?

Let’s start with the basic question, what is IFTA?

IFTA stands for The International Fuel Tax Agreement. IFTA is an agreement between the lower 48 states and Canadian provinces to help simplify fuel tax collection and reporting for interstate commercial carriers. IFTA reports help determine how much fuel tax is owed in each state or province based on the miles driven in each jurisdiction.

How does IFTA work?

As you buy fuel, be sure to save your fuel receipts. At the end of each quarter, you’ll create a report showing the jurisdictions you hauled in, the miles you traveled in each jurisdiction, and how many gallons of fuel were purchased in each jurisdiction. Based on the report calculations, you will find that you either owe money into your IFTA account or a refund is owed to your account. Then, your base jurisdiction takes care of dividing the fuel taxes paid proportionately to every jurisdiction based on mileage.

How to Get IFTA stickers

First, to register for IFTA and get your IFTA stickers, you’ll need to complete an IFTA application in your base jurisdiction. That’s most likely the state or province where your trucking company is registered, where your trucks are registered, or where your company records are kept. Once you’re registered with IFTA, you’ll get a license in the mail and two IFTA decals to place on both sides of your cab. Decals expire on December 31 of each year, so be sure to keep your registration current.

When are IFTA reports due?

You must file an IFTA tax return every quarter, even if you don’t haul or buy fuel in any IFTA jurisdiction that quarter. If your report finds that any taxes are owed, you pay that amount to your base jurisdiction at the time the report is filed, and the base jurisdiction then redistributes that tax money.

IFTA Reporting Quarters and Due Dates

  • Q1 (January-March): April 30
  • Q2 (April-June): July 31
  • Q3 (July-September): October 31
  • Q4 (October-December): January 31

What records should I keep?

The FMCSA requires you to keep the following records for at least 6 months:

  • Fuel Receipts: Keep receipts of all fuel you purchase and which state or province you purchased it in. Be sure it shows fuel type, purchase date, purchase location, the price per gallon, vehicle registration number of the truck, total purchase amount, and number of gallons purchased.
  • Mileage Records: You’ll need to track the mileage traveled in each jurisdiction each quarter, specifying total mileage, total mileage for each trip, and the total mileage traveled in each jurisdiction.
  • Trip Reports: Be sure to include all relevant trip information, such as beginning and ending trip dates, trip origin and destination, and travel routes.

Want help with IFTA reporting?

When you use a fuel card program, like the TCS Fuel Card, you can easily access all the information you need to fill out your quarterly IFTA reports. A fuel card helps you be prepared with accurate records to stay compliant.


Want fuel management tools that make it easier to file your reports? Get the TCS Fuel Card and receive exceptional service along with the best fuel savings possible from the truck stops you visit most, call 844-827-7705 or sign up today!

To learn more about IFTA, watch this short video from Apex Capital.

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