Fleet Managers Look to Online Resources for Tax Management and Reporting
As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. Not only is April a sure sign of Spring - it is also a sure sign of taxes. While fleet managers across the country are managing loads, deliveries, resources and schedules, CFOs and accountants are helping them to finalize taxes as well as looking to the future for savings. The trucking industry is overwhelmingly complex where taxes are concerned, and ripe with inconsistencies based on multiple state tax activity and regulations. Fuel tax, cross border compliance and leasing taxes are only a few of the considerations that that the industry faces, which is why smart fleet managers are looking to online resources, fuel tax reconciliation tools and OTR payments to help stay ahead of the game.
In almost any industry there is an abundance of tax saving opportunities - and that is no different in the trucking industry. Fleet managers and owners just need to know where to find them. To the uneducated, the most obvious savings in a vehicle-centric industry might seem to be in fuel tax credits but it is critical to be very careful and even more informed. While fuel tax credits are a fair claim within the trucking and transportation industry, fuel is also a category most often used for improper claims and inflated tax refunds. The IRS is aware and has been vigilant in auditing.
“We will do everything we can to stop erroneous claims for the fuel tax credit and catch scammers promoting them. The IRS is also concerned about identity thieves trying to use this credit to inflate their bogus claims for refunds.” — IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
In the simplest explanation, there is no tax credit allowed for fuel used in a vehicle that is using that fuel to move forward (propulsion engine) on a highway. Unfortunately, that usually includes all registered highway vehicles, i.e. the trucking industry. That said, there is a lucrative federal tax credit available for NON-propulsion motors used on registered highway vehicles. Motors not being used for propulsion will qualify for the tax credit and contribute to considerable savings over time.
While the trucking and transportation industry is reliant on propulsion motors, these companies and contractors should pay particular attention to the non-propulsion, motorized equipment that they are using. That equipment could include auxiliary power units, pumps, augers, and refrigeration units. These categories run by non-propulsion motors means that the fuel will qualify for the credit. Companies should be prepared to distinguish fuel usage for non-propulsion and propulsion purposes. If claiming a credit for propane, the company should be registered with the IRS as an alternative fuel user.
Fuel Taxes Require Vigorous Reporting
Generally, fuel taxes in the trucking industry does not mean refunds or credits. Instead it is a category that requires steady tracking and reporting, becoming a monumental job for fleet managers as they navigate routes and schedules across borders and state lines. Fortunately, companies like EFS have made it their mission to help, offering fuel tax solutions that save time and help with ELD compliance.
This full-service reporting solution can assist in capturing and preparing required IFTA, IRP, and individual state fuel tax reports. Fleet managers and owners will never have to worry about tracking, calculating, and reporting fuel tax. The EFS online fuel tax solution uses state-of-the-art technology to provide the most accurate fuel tax automation software in the industry, saving time and money so managers can focus on their daily tasks at hand.
- Real Time Processing: Save valuable time auditing and reconciling fuel spend with real-time reporting and analysis.
- Routing Technology: Many automated fuel tax services use simple calculations to determine distance traveled. Unfortunately, these types of practices could end up leading to significant penalties and fees in an audit. EFS fuel tax integrates with industry-leading mapping and routing providers in order to re-create actual routes of travel that will satisfy any audit.
- Universal Integration: This solution has the ability to integrate with most providers in order to automate the collection of your data, saving you valuable time.
- Specialized Support: EFS fuel tax was developed and built by industry professionals. A team of fuel tax experts carry years of regulation, auditing, and compliance experience enabling personalized support for specific business, challenges, and needs. This solution is meant to provide the peace of mind that your fuel tax reporting is accurate and on-time
Partnering with a company like EFS is becoming more common within the transportation industry for the reasons above and even further as indicated below:
Top 10 advantages of an EFS Fuel Tax Solution
- Quarterly IFTA fuel tax processing.
- Individual state weight-mileage returns are required by Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, and Oregon.
- Automated fuel purchase imports from all major fuel card providers.
- Ability to integrate GPS and dispatch data from industry-leading mobile communication and logistic software providers.
- Easy and intuitive methods for entering specific information that is not captured by automated processes.
- Personalized audit and consulting support for all your fuel tax needs.
- Detailed route information with the EFS Fuel Tax mapping solution.
- Powerful exception handling tools to assist with managing erroneous data points.
- Fleet and truck-level reporting for use in driver settlements and performance reporting.
- Bulk fuel inventory and transaction management Assists with preparing UCR, IRP, and 2290 reports.
Fuel Audit Tools Also Helping to Track and Save
While fuel tax reporting tools are helping to manage the data to meet compliance, fuel audit tools can help to track usage and leverage opportunities for even more savings. EFS’s Online Fuel Audit and Reconciliation tool leverages big data to provide KPI tracking and purchase reporting, along with real-time and historical pricing analysis to take control of, and better manage fuel spend. Save valuable time auditing and reconciling fuel spend with powerful real-time reporting and analysis. The advantages of this online tool include:
- Daily Fuel Reconciliation
- Fuel Price Verification
- Individual Transaction Verification
- Executive Management Reporting
- Mobile Fuel Price Discovery and Optimization Tools
Online Vendor Payments Helping with OTR Obligations
Online software solutions in the trucking and transportation arena are not exclusive to compliance, reporting, data management and tracking. Simplified digital payment solutions have become critical for fleet managers in order to maintain efficiencies and accuracies on the financial side of the business. These payment solutions can also be applied to one time or consecutive OTR payments, maintaining compliance and accuracy where taxes are concerned.
Tax season in the trucking and transportation industry is complex and clearly more than just a few months. The good news is that by partnering with a company like EFS, fleet managers can be confident in knowing that efficiencies, compliance, reporting, and payments have been met accurately and on time all year long - not just in April.