In the most basic terms, the International Fuel Tax Agreement, or IFTA, was created to simplify fuel use reporting between Canada and the lower 48 states. Because of this, it is vital to keep record of how many miles are traveled in each state. How should we do this? We’ve compiled a few options.
Your ELD (Electronic Logging Device).
Most modern ELDs will do this for you, and give you an easy report to see the total miles per state. But there's a couple things to look out for.
- Does your ELD keep track of state to state miles and give you enough details during an audit?
- Does your IFTA reporting jurisdiction allow ELD tracked miles in case of an audit? If not, then one of the other methods may be necessary.
Keep a notebook and write the odometer when you cross state lines.
This is as easy as it sounds. Keep a notebook and pen handy, and write down your odometer miles every time you cross a state line or refuel. Some may choose to record their miles every time they stop, and some say this is the best way to record it, especially for audit situations since it can indicate actual miles.
Use routing software that tracks state miles
There are some software options available online and offline, including PC Miler, that keep track of your miles state to state when you use it to create a route for you. You will need to total the miles between trips, though.
Use IFTA compatible trucking software
There are more robust trucking software packages, including Rigbooks, that will automatically total your state-by-state miles for you for IFTA. You will just run a report of some kind to see them.
Use a GPS or other device that records state by state miles per quarter
There are also devices that keep track of the miles for you. A GPS unit, such as the Garmin dēzlTM 760LMT or the Rand McNally IntelliRoute® TNDTM 720 LM can keep record, and may even have a printable record, though you may need to print it off periodically . You may need to discuss options and details with your company’s log department, or check with IFTA regulations for what, exactly, may be needed.
Other methods for tracking your state to state miles might vary or surprise you. There are some fleet tracking devices, such as a Qualcomm that automatically report movement to the company. There are even apps for smartphones now, such as TripLog.
No matter your preference, there is an option available. You just need to find the right one that fits your preference, and gets the information needed.
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More resources for trucking business owners:
- What’s the difference between HVUT, Form 2290, and IFTA?
- "How long do I have to keep these?": FMCSA record retention for owner-operators and small fleet owners
- Top tax filing tips for owner-operators
- Tips for owner-operators with tax problems
- How are fuel surcharges calculated?
- Simple rules for maintaining long-term profitability in your trucking business
- Starting out with an owner-operator trucking business
- Owner-operator expenses: Fixed costs vs variable costs
- Understanding owner-operator expenses and costs
- Gaining half an MPG can put more money in your pocket than adding $90,000 in revenue
- Cutting fuel costs and improving fuel efficiency for Owner Operators
- Top truck-buying tips for owner-operators
- New versus used truck pros and cons table
- Buying a truck: Should you get a new or used rig?
- Preventative maintenance strategies to avoid major repair costs
- IFTA fuel-buying strategies: Where is the best place to buy fuel?
- Calculating your cost per mile
- Owner Operator Expenses - Fixed Costs vs Variable Costs
- How do I calculate IFTA?
- How does IFTA work?
- How did IFTA start?
- What exactly is IFTA?
- Tracking miles for IFTA
- Fitness for the road
- Acronym cheatsheet for the trucking industry