J. J. Keller® Compliance Network Logo
Start Customizing Your Profile for Free!
Update to Professional Trial!

Experience Everything Compliance Network Has to Offer

Already have an account?
Thank you for investing in EnvironmentalHazmat related content. Click 'UPGRADE' to continue.
Enjoy your limited-time access to the Compliance Network Professional Trial!
A confirmation welcome email has been sent to your email address from ComplianceNetwork@t.jjkellercompliancenetwork.com. Please check your spam/junk folder if you can't find it in your inbox.
Thank you for your interest in EnvironmentalHazmat related content.
You've reached your limit of free access, if you'd like more info, please contact us at 800-327-6868.

While instructions are provided with quarterly tax returns required by the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), they can be somewhat intimidating. The hints below shed light on key points and may help you lower your quarterly payments and reduce the chances of an audit.

Carriers licensed under IFTA must file a tax return with their base jurisdiction each quarter and pay all taxes due by the due date. Returns that are not filed or not paid in full by the due date are considered late and will be assessed penalties and interest.

Most jurisdictions offer online filing options, some even make filing online mandatory. For paper returns, the returns are considered filed and received on the date shown by the postmark stamped on the envelope.

Gather your fuel and mileage data

Whether you file online or by mail, you’ll need the following information to complete your return.

For the summary portion of the return, you’ll need:

  • The total miles driven in each jurisdiction by every qualified vehicle in your IFTA fleet during the tax reporting period, including operations under trip permits;
  • The total gallons of fuel purchased and placed in the propulsion tanks of all qualified vehicles in your IFTA fleet (tax paid gallons) during the tax reporting period; and
  • Average fleet mpg (generally should be between 2 and 8 to avoid raising red flags to auditors).

Then, for each jurisdiction of travel for the quarter, you’ll need:

  • Tax rate,
  • Total miles,
  • Total taxable miles,
  • Taxable gallons, and
  • Tax paid gallons (only count fuel where tax was paid and you have a receipt).

Taxable gallons are the gallons used while traveling through each jurisdiction, calculated by dividing the total taxable miles by the average miles per gallon. Miles driven while traveling on a fuel tax trip permit are excluded from the taxable gallons calculation.

Tax paid gallons are the gallons purchased (with receipts in hand) and placed in the propulsion tank.

All miles traveled and all fuel purchased during the quarter in all jurisdictions must be reported. You’ll leave out any exempt and excluded miles when you calculate the “total taxable miles.”

With this information gathered, you are ready to accurately file your report for the quarter.

Reporting period Due date
1st quarter (January – March)April 30
2nd quarter (April – June)July 31
3rd quarter (July – September)October 31
4th quarter (October – December)January 31

If the due date is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the next business day is considered the due date.

Did you know...?

Tax returns are required even if no operations were conducted or no taxable fuel was used during the reporting period.

One return covers your entire fleet. You do not need to file a separate return for each vehicle.

If you are missing any receipts for tax-paid fuel, you must report it as “tax not paid.”

Why do I owe more tax if I do not have any “tax paid gallons”?

Fuel taxes are included in the price of fuel purchases. Reporting all the purchases for which you have records as “tax paid gallons” reduces the amount you’ll owe when filing your return. If you have no receipts to show you paid the tax, the fuel will be counted as “tax not paid” and you’ll owe the tax for that fuel on the return.

Remember to maintain all records to substantiate the information reported on your tax returns so you can make them available in the event of an audit.