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Who Needs IFTA?

Written by Nick Webster

Published on June 25, 2023, 11 a.m.


“Who needs IFTA registration?” is an important question. Here is the answer:

  • Almost every commercial motor carrier operating in the US and Canada needs to register for IFTA.
  • If you are transporting goods or passengers over two or more jurisdictions, you need an IFTA license.
  • The territories include all US states (except Hawaii) and Canadian provinces.
  • You need to register with your base jurisdiction first before applying for an IFTA fuel tax license.
  • You must report your miles travelled in each taxing jurisdiction when filing quarterly returns.
  • All vehicles with three axles or more, carrying between 26,001 lb and 36,000 lbs needs a valid interstate fuel tax agreement (IFTA). Know about USDOT Number This applies even if the vehicle is registered in one state only.


IFTA, AKA the International Fuel Tax Agreement, is a crucial aspect of operations for many trucking companies and independent operators in North America. It plays a vital role in regulating fuel tax payments across different jurisdictions. This comprehensive guide aims to provide insight into IFTA sticker, its registration process, and to answer the critical question: Who needs IFTA registration in trucking?

IFTA: A Brief Overview

The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) represents a cooperative arrangement involving 48 US states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, along with 10 Canadian provinces. Its main objective is to facilitate the process of reporting and remitting fuel taxes, thereby reducing complexity for those involved.

Motor carriers operating in multiple jurisdictions would previously have to comply with a variety of different fuel tax laws, which often proved complex and time-consuming. IFTA was designed to streamline this process, making it easier and more efficient for interstate and international motor carriers to report and pay their fuel taxes. If so, then you might need to fulfill the IFTA license requirement. And FMCSA and Registration LLC is ready to assist.

Who Needs IFTA Registration?

Registration under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is generally necessary for motor carriers traversing several IFTA jurisdictions. Do you know What is IRP ?The primary determinant for IFTA registration revolves around the status of the vehicle as a 'qualified motor vehicle'. As defined by IFTA, a 'qualified motor vehicle' refers to any motor vehicle that is utilized, constructed, or maintained for the conveyance of individuals or goods and:

  • Possesses two axles and a gross vehicle weight or a registered gross vehicle
  • weight that surpasses 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms; or
  • Is equipped with three or more axles, irrespective of its weight; or
  • Is used in combination where the weight of the combination exceeds 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms in terms of gross vehicle or registered gross vehicle weight.

Vehicles primarily designed for personal use, such as recreational vehicles, are typically exempt from IFTA requirements, even if they meet the above weight and axle specifications.

Commercial motor carriers, interstate travel, fuel tax reporting.

The Process of IFTA Registration

If a motor carrier operates a qualified motor vehicle across multiple IFTA jurisdictions, they must register for IFTA. The process usually involves the following steps:

  • Application: The carrier applies for IFTA registration in their base jurisdiction, i.e., the state or province where their motor vehicles are registered, where they have some business presence, and where operational records are maintained.
  • Issuance of IFTA License and Decals: Upon approval of the application, the carrier receives an IFTA license and decals. Visit & know DOT Authority Package . The license must be copied and carried in each qualifying vehicle, and decals must be affixed to the exterior of each vehicle.
  • Quarterly Fuel Tax Reporting: The carrier is required to file a quarterly IFTA fuel tax report with their base jurisdiction, detailing the miles traveled and fuel consumed in each IFTA jurisdiction.
  • Payment or Refund: Based on the data submitted in their reports, the carrier either remits any due fuel taxes to their home jurisdiction or obtains a refund if they've paid in excess. Do you know The OP-1 form is crucial for carriers that need to secure FMCSA Operating Authority. It falls under the responsibility of the home jurisdiction to disburse the accumulated taxes to the respective jurisdictions.

What Are the Benefits of IFTA Registration?

IFTA registration offers several benefits to motor carriers. These include:

  • Simplified Reporting: IFTA consolidates fuel tax reporting into a single quarterly report filed with the carrier's base jurisdiction, simplifying the administrative process.
  • Reduced Paperwork: IFTA eliminates the need for carriers to obtain fuel permits from each state or province they travel through, reducing paperwork and associated costs.
  • Consistent Auditing: Carriers are only subject to auditing by their base jurisdiction, creating a more consistent and predictable auditing process.

fleet operations, regulatory compliance.

Understanding IFTA Audit and Compliance

An important aspect of IFTA is its mechanism for ensuring compliance. Every jurisdiction has the authority to audit IFTA licensees. Know about BOC-3. However, to minimize the administrative burden on carriers, each carrier's base jurisdiction is responsible for auditing its licensees. This means that a carrier will only be subject to an audit from one jurisdiction, despite operating in multiple ones.

During an IFTA audit, the jurisdiction will review the carrier's records to ensure accurate reporting of fuel purchases and usage, as well as the miles traveled in each jurisdiction. If discrepancies are found, the carrier may be required to pay additional taxes, interest, and potentially penalties. Regular and accurate record-keeping is thus crucial for IFTA compliance.

What Are the Best Practices for IFTA Compliance?

To ensure IFTA compliance, carriers should adopt the following best practices:

  • Maintain Accurate Records: Keep thorough records of all fuel purchases, including date, place, quantity, and type of fuel, price, and the vehicle the fuel was purchased for. Also, keep a record of all miles traveled, both taxable and non-taxable, and the routes taken.
  • File Reports on Time: File your quarterly IFTA fuel tax reports by the due date. Late filing or non-filing can result in penalties and interest charges.
  • Understand IFTA Requirements: Stay informed about IFTA requirements and changes in the agreement. Each jurisdiction may also have its own specific requirements, so ensure you're familiar with the requirements of your base jurisdiction.

IFTA: A Key Component of Trucking Operations

Without question, IFTA registration is a crucial component of trucking operations for many carriers. Have a look at Motor Carrier Authority. By simplifying the reporting and payment of fuel taxes across multiple jurisdictions, it reduces administrative burdens and costs, allowing carriers to focus on their core business. However, it also requires careful record-keeping and regular reporting to ensure compliance.

While IFTA may seem complex, it's ultimately a system designed to benefit carriers. With a clear understanding of who needs IFTA registration, how the process works, and how to stay compliant, carriers can take full advantage of the benefits IFTA offers.


Navigating the intricacies of IFTA registration can seem daunting, especially for newcomers to the trucking industry. Know here about Starting a Trucking Company Package . However, a solid understanding of the process, coupled with diligent record-keeping and timely reporting, can greatly simplify the task.

The goal of IFTA is to streamline operations for carriers crossing multiple jurisdictions, and with the right knowledge, it serves as a tool that helps rather than hinders the business of trucking. Remember, the key to mastering IFTA lies in understanding its requirements and maintaining accurate records. Read here about Driver Qualification Files . By doing so, carriers can ensure smooth operations, legal compliance, and a more efficient business overall.

Summary: Who Needs IFTA Registration in Trucking?
  • For-hire truckers who travel through multiple jurisdictions
  • Inter-jurisdi ctional carriers operating in the US and Canada
  • Private fleet operators whose trucks are used for interstate travel
  • Any carrier hauling over 26,000 lbs of freight across state lines
  • Trucking companies that conduct business in more than one state or province
  • Carriers who use qualify motor vehicles on public highways.
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