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How Does the IFTA Reporting System Work?

Updated: Feb 15

What is IFTA?

The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is a pact between the lower 48 states and the ten Canadian provinces that require all interstate motor carriers to report fuel taxes. The agreement doesn’t affect Hawaii, Alaska, or the three northern Canadian territories.

IFTA was created to replace the old fuel tax system, in which trucks were required to have a separate decal for every state they operated in. The current IFTA reporting system simplifies the hassle of reporting fuel tax for trucking companies (including owner-operators) who operate across IFTA jurisdictions by reducing paperwork and minimizing the compliance requirements.

Keep in mind that IFTA is not an additional tax. IFTA was put into place to redistribute the tax to the states where the fuel is actually being used, not where it is purchased. This means no matter where you buy the fuel, you're paying the fuel tax in whatever states you're driving in.

Trucker Doing His IFTA Reporting

What motor vehicles are required to follow IFTA?

IFTA is required for any motor vehicle with the following specifications:

  • Those with two axles and a gross vehicle weight rating or registered gross vehicle weight above 26,000 pounds

  • Those of any weight which has three or more axles

  • Any combination of vehicles with a total gross vehicle weight or weight rating above 26,000 pounds

How does IFTA work?

Every owner of a qualified motor vehicle must submit an IFTA application, or have their bookkeeper or accountant do so on their behalf. After you submit your application, you will receive an IFTA license as well as an IFTA decal for each qualified vehicle you operate. Whenever fuel is purchased, the amount is logged into the truck owner’s IFTA account.

At the end of each quarter, you must submit an IFTA report that lists the miles driven and the gallons purchased. These reports will determine either the amount of tax still owed or the refund you are due. The IFTA office in the trucking company’s home state will issue your refund or debt.

Quarterly reports must also be filed as long as the vehicle is operational. This must be done even if the truck isn’t used for commercial purposes for one or more quarters. IFTA decals expire every year on the 31st of December. Carriers have until the end of February of the next year to re-register.

What are the IFTA tax rates?

The IFTA tax rates vary by the state or province you are purchasing fuel. The IFTA tax rates change each quarter. Click here for the most updated fuel tax rate chart.

When must the IFTA reporting be filed?

  • For January through March, the due date is April 30th

  • For April through June, the due date is July 31st

  • For July through September, the due date is October 31st

  • For October through December, the due date is January 31st

How do I file an IFTA report?

  • Electronically: Your return is considered received the date it is submitted.

  • By Mail: Your return is considered received by the postmark date on the envelope.