Posted on May 9th, 2019
If you’re in the transportation industry you’ve probably heard the acronym IFTA floating around. But what exactly is it?
As a reminder: IFTA stands for International Fuel Tax Agreement. At its simplest, it’s an agreement among the lower 48 states and most Canadian provinces to simplify fuel usage reporting by motor carriers operating in multiple jurisdictions (such as those with vehicles traveling in more than one state), requiring them to file their quarterly tax return in one state instead of all those they operate in.
However, even with IFTA being sold as a streamlined process – which it is, particularly when compared to methods prior to the agreement’s implementation – it still requires a lot of time, money and resources to complete all that’s involved, especially for interstate carriers operating large fleets. To put this in perspective, we at Aim have a team working full time all year long to ensure IFTA compliance.
Depending on a carrier’s unique situation, IFTA may not just simplify quarterly fuel tax returns; it could also save a significant amount money.
“One thing I can’t recommend enough is to speak with your tax consultant about the laws in your base jurisdiction,” said Aim Director of Licensing Will Rauber. “Depending on the equipment you’re operating and how you operate it, you could save hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year.”
Who Does IFTA Apply to?
IFTA only applies to what’s known as a ” qualified motor vehicle,” which defines a vehicle as:
- Having two axles and a gross vehicle weight or registered gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms
- Having three or more axles, regardless of weight
- A vehicle that exceeds 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms
And, to reiterate, this only applies to vehicles operating in multiple jurisdictions.
If you’re running only a couple of trucks, record keeping and filing under IFTA isn’t too intensive. For carriers managing large fleets, on the other hand, it can feel like quite an involved process.
To complete IFTA’s quarterly tax returns, trip reports and fuel records are required. Each component must include specific information or carriers run the risk of fines to the tune of thousands of dollars.
Trip reports must include:
- Date of trip (start/end)
- Trip origin and destination (including waypoints on the trip)
- Routes of travel
- Beginning and ending odometer or hubometer readings
- Total trip miles
- Mileage by state/province (jurisdiction breakdown)
- Unit number or vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Vehicle fleet number
- Registrant’s name
Fuel records must include:
- Date of purchase
- Seller’s name and address
- Number of gallons/liters purchased
- Fuel type
- Price per gallon or liter (or total amount of sale)
- Unit numbers
- Purchaser’s name
For carriers electing to capture distance data electronically, they must ensure their devices record everything that is required in a trip report, but it must also include latitude and longitude data points. Records showing only total distance aren’t acceptable.
So, for businesses going the electronic route for distance recordkeeping must log:
- Original GPS or other location data for the vehicle to which the records pertain;
- Data and time of each GPS or other system reading (IFTA requires that readings be at intervals sufficient to validate the total distance traveled in each jurisdiction);
- Location of each GPS or other system reading;
- Beginning and ending reading from the odometer, hubodometer, engine control module (ECM) or any similar device for the period to which the records pertain;
- Calculated distance between each GPS or other system reading;
- Route of vehicle’s travel;
- Total distance traveled by the vehicle;
- Distanced traveled in each jurisdiction; and
- Vehicle identification number or vehicle unit number.
Forgetting to include the proper documentation or information is a good way to trigger an audit. Although, as a bottom line, each year IFTA randomly audits 3% of licensed members from each jurisdiction.
Licensees can make sure they’re prepared for an audit through proper and organized recordkeeping. Auditors will need access to various pieces of information, and the last thing anyone wants is to be scrambling to put it all together at the last second, increasing the chances of human error.
Carriers can also:
- Make sure the mileage tracker (GPS, AOBRD, ELD) is recording data frequently and accurately
- Be precise when taking odometer readings; they should match trip logs
- Never have missing or inaccurate mileage or fuel data for each quarter
- Save all documentation used for IFTA tax return filings for at least six years
- Keep original driver records as auditors usually prefer to see the originals even when recording software is being utilized
In short, smart, efficient record keeping will help you avoid interest, penalties and fines in the unlikely but very possible event of an audit.
Posted on April 3rd, 2019
Aim Leasing Company has purchased 288 brand new vehicles to refresh and strengthen its rental fleet. This acquisition includes a robust mixture of day cabs, sleepers, box trucks and refrigerated units.
Over the past year, Aim’s rental services have grown significantly under the direction of Josh Lombardo, Aim’s Director of Rental, who was brought on at the end of 2017. As Aim’s rental services continue to expand nationwide, the company is making strides to accelerate this growth while ensuring current customers continue to lean on Aim when they need to rent commercial equipment. Part of this effort means replacing any vehicles 2013 or older.
While Aim stands behind the reliability of its current rental fleet, as equipment ages it becomes more challenging to maintain. New units require much fewer trips to the shop, which, in the case of Aim’s 288 new vehicles, will help drive profitability, according to Lombardo.
On top of that, an Aim rental vehicle is often the first taste customers get of Aim’s services. It isn’t rare for a business renting from Aim to migrate to a full-service lease, integrated contract or, at the very least, a custom maintenance program. Instances like these all start from a solid customer experience.
“First and foremost, we want current customers and prospects to have a great experience with Aim,” said Lombardo. “We understand that a business’s reputation is on the line every time a truck sets out carrying its goods and services, and having a fleet of new vehicles at the ready provides the reliability and confidence those utilizing our services expect.”
Pictured are three of Aim’s 288 new rental vehicles, including, left to right, a box truck, sleeper and refrigerated unit.
Moreover, sometimes perception is everything. Stepping into a truck or tractor of a newer model year offers peace of mind, even if they’re functionally no different from older trucks and equipment. This is particularly true for the driver. Operating newer equipment is simply more appealing – an important, sometimes overlooked aspect (particularly in the ongoing driver shortage).
Aim’s new fleet will include a variety of amenities to make the customer’s job easier. On that, customers will not only have a full menu of equipment types to choose from, but they’ll also have access to additional options, such as walk ramps, power liftgates and automatic transmissions.
A look inside one of Aim’s new automatic transmission sleepers.
The purchase of nearly 300 new trucks and tractors also means Aim will free up hundreds of vehicles for resale – 276 to be exact. Aim recently brought on Eric Samp as its Director of Used Trucks, and under his direction, Aim plans to see significant profits by selling off its older rental vehicles, especially as the used truck market remains strong.
“This is an exciting time for the rental department and the company as a whole,” said Lombardo. “Moves like these shows our commitment to excellence and will continue to cement Aim as a leader in transportation solutions.”
Posted on January 26th, 2018
Aim is excited to announce the hire of Josh Lombardo into the newly created position of Corporate Director of Rental. Josh will be working out of Aim’s corporate headquarters in Girard, OH and reporting to Executive Vice President Matt Svancara. “Josh comes to Aim with great Industry experience and we are excited to have him be part of our growth strategy for our commercial rental truck division” says Svancara.
Josh was brought on to re-structure and change the culture of the rental department in order to drive rental sales efforts, revenues and profitability. “To do this the plan is to completely re-structure the rental administrator and regional rental manager positions, starting with new job descriptions for both positions in order to clearly define each role as well as to attract top talent when we are looking to hire,” says Josh of his new charge.
Josh has been active in the transportation industry for nearly 15 years. “I chose to come to work for Aim because it is a family owned business and truly has the family values at its core. I also felt that they understand and actively practice a work/life balance which is something I have never had before in my career and with a growing family it was very important for me” says Josh.
Josh has an aggressive plan for revitalizing Aim’s rental program. He says of this: “I want the rental department to have clear and concise policies, procedures and training programs in place so as the company continues to grow and add new locations rental can play an integral role in the expansion and growth. Ultimately in 5 years I want the rental department to be a key provider for the company’s bottom line and for Aim to remain as a leader in the rental industry.”
Josh graduated from West Chester University with a bachelor’s of science in Business Management. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife, Erica, and their 15 month old daughter, Emilia. Josh is also an avid golfer, snowboarder, and skeet shooter.