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What Is IFTA?

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Feb. 9, 2024, 10:47 a.m.


What is IFTA?” is an important question. Let’s get it answered:

  • IFTA stands for International Fuel Tax Agreement.
  • It was created to simplify the fuel tax reporting process for motor carriers operating in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Under IFTA, carriers must file a single quarterly fuel tax report instead of individual reports to each state or province they travel through.
  • The agreement also allows fuel taxes paid in one jurisdiction to be credited against taxes due in another, preventing double taxation of the same gallons.
  • Carriers must register with their base state or province and purchase a decal that is affixed to every vehicle used in interstate commerce.
  • This decal, along with an accurate record-keeping system, helps ensure all tax returns are reported accurately.


For anyone involved in the trucking industry, the term IFTA, or the International Fuel Tax Agreement, is likely to come up frequently. Know What is IRP? It's a crucial element of interstate transport, affecting anyone who operates a commercial vehicle across state lines. But what exactly is IFTA? This article provides a comprehensive understanding of IFTA, its implications, and its importance in the trucking industry.

What is IFTA?

The International Fuel Tax Agreement sticker (IFTA) is an agreement between the 48 contiguous states in the U.S. and 10 provinces in Canada. It's designed to simplify the reporting and payment of fuel taxes by interstate motor carriers. Before IFTA, truckers or trucking companies had to obtain fuel permits from each state they drove through, a process that was both time-consuming and complex.

Who Needs to Comply With IFTA?

Compliance with IFTA becomes essential under the following conditions:

  • Your vehicle operates across a minimum of two IFTA jurisdictions, which may include states in the U.S. or provinces in Canada.
  • The weight of your vehicle exceeds 26,000 pounds, or it is equipped with three or more axles, irrespective of its weight.
  • Your vehicle, when used in combination with other equipment, has a total weight that exceeds 26,000 pounds.

FTA, International Fuel Tax Agreement, commercial vehicles, fuel tax reporting, interstate travel

How Does IFTA Work?

Under IFTA, you have to apply for an IFTA license and decals through your base jurisdiction (the state where you have registered your vehicle). DOT Authority Package Once you have the IFTA license, you can travel between all other IFTA jurisdictions without needing individual fuel permits for each.

IFTA requires you to keep detailed records of miles traveled and fuel purchased in each jurisdiction. Want to know BOC-3? Each quarter, you file an IFTA fuel tax report with your base jurisdiction, which details your vehicle's fuel usage and mileage in each IFTA jurisdiction. Based on this report, you either pay additional taxes if you owe any, or receive a refund if you've overpaid.

Why is IFTA Important?

IFTA simplifies the fuel tax process for trucking businesses and individual truckers. Have a look at Motor Carrier Authority. By consolidating fuel tax reporting into one base jurisdiction, reduces paperwork, saves time, and makes interstate transport more efficient.

How Does IFTA Reporting Work?

To comply with IFTA, you need to provide accurate and timely reports. Here's what you need to know about IFTA reporting:

  • Record-Keeping: You must keep detailed records of your fuel purchases and the miles traveled in each jurisdiction. Do you want to know about Starting a Trucking Company Package? For fuel purchases, keep receipts that show the date, location, number of gallons or liters purchased, type of fuel, and price. For mileage, use an odometer, GPS, or Electronic Logging Device (ELD) to record the miles traveled in each jurisdiction.
  • Filing Reports: You need to file an IFTA report every quarter with your base jurisdiction. The report should detail the miles traveled and fuel purchased in each IFTA jurisdiction.
  • Calculating Fuel Taxes: Based on your report, you calculate the fuel taxes owed to each jurisdiction. Driver Qualification Files. If your vehicle's fuel mileage is higher than the tax-paid gallons of fuel purchased in a particular jurisdiction, you'll owe additional taxes. If it's lower, you may be eligible for a refund.
  • Payment and Refunds: You make a single payment to your base jurisdiction for the total amount of fuel taxes owed. How to obtain MC Number? If you're due for a refund, your base jurisdiction will issue it. The base jurisdiction then distributes the taxes to each respective jurisdiction.

What Are the Steps of Quarterly IFTA Fuel Tax Reporting?

  • Complete the IFTA quarterly fuel use tax form, which is provided by the International Fuel Tax Association.
  • Make sure to include all applicable information such as vehicle registration numbers, gallons of fuel purchased, and total miles traveled in each jurisdiction.
  • Submit the completed form to your base state for verification.
  • The base state will verify that you have reported correctly, then forward your report to each of the other jurisdictions in which you traveled.
  • Track any taxes due for payment and make sure to pay them on time.
  • Your base state will provide you with a copy of your filed return so that you can keep it for records.

What Are the Challenges with IFTA Reporting?

While IFTA simplifies fuel tax reporting, it can still be challenging, especially for new or small trucking businesses. Some common challenges include:

  • Keeping Detailed Records: Maintaining accurate, detailed records of fuel purchases and mileage can be time-consuming.
  • Understanding Different Jurisdiction Rates: Each jurisdiction has its own fuel tax rates, which can change quarterly. Keeping up with these changes and calculating your taxes correctly can be complex.
  • Avoiding Audits: If your records are inaccurate or incomplete, you may be subject to an audit, which could result in fines or penalties.

How Do I Simplify IFTA Reporting?

Despite the challenges, several strategies and tools can simplify IFTA reporting:

  • Use Technology: Various software and apps can automatically track your mileage and fuel purchases, calculate fuel taxes, and even generate IFTA reports.
  • Stay Organized: Develop a system for organizing your receipts and records. This could be as simple as a dedicated folder or binder, or a digital system.

Stay Informed: Regularly check the IFTA website or your base jurisdiction's website for updates on fuel tax rates, reporting deadlines, and other important information.

How Do Truck Drivers Benefit Through IFTA?

The main benefit of IFTA is that it simplifies the process of tracking, calculating, and reporting fuel taxes across all participating states. Visit & know Drug and Alcohol Program. For truck drivers, this means they no longer have to keep track of multiple fuel receipts manually, as IFTA will do it automatically.

Rather than having to calculate different state taxes on each individual trip, all taxes are calculated through one single report with IFTA. This saves time and money while eliminating the possibility of errors due to manual calculations. Additionally, if there are any discrepancies or questions about fuel tax reports, these issues can be addressed quickly.


IFTA is a fundamental part of the trucking industry, impacting anyone who operates a commercial vehicle across state or provincial lines. Know about USDOT Number While it simplifies the fuel tax process, it also requires meticulous record-keeping and accurate reporting. By understanding what IFTA is, why it's important, and how to manage it effectively, you can ensure your trucking business remains compliant and efficient.

Summary: What Is IFTA?
  • IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) is an agreement between 48 US states and 10 Canadian provinces.
  • The agreement allows motor carriers operating qualified vehicles in multiple jurisdictions to file a single fuel tax report with their base jurisdiction, instead of filing separate reports in each jurisdiction they travel through.
  • This simplifies the process for drivers and trucking companies by combining all transactions into a single report.
  • All payments are made electronically and taxes due will be calculated based on miles traveled and fuel purchased in individual jurisdictions.

In addition to simplifying the reporting process for motor carriers, IFTA also helps reduce fraud by tracking all fuel purchases and mileages for individual vehicles.

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