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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

7 Ways Truckers Can Prevent Accidents

There’s nothing worse than a close call on the highway. Well, except for an actual incident!

So what’s the cause of the many trucking accidents? It’s hard to pick one thing, but we know there are a few key factors that always come up.

How can you prevent accidents on the road? By starting with yourself!

We’ve listened to truckers and health experts to put together these 7 tips for accident prevention.

Get More Sleep


Nothing is more dangerous than falling asleep behind the wheel of a 70,000 lb truck speeding down the highway. Which is why you hear so many people in the industry discussing the sleeping patterns, health, and practices of drivers. Federal regulations do not allow more than 12 consecutive hours of road time, but there are many drivers who do more than this.

How can you avoid sleep deprivation? Rest for short intervals and take breaks when you’re tired. With small amounts of recharge time, you can prevent sleep related accidents.

Sit with Proper Posture


Over at TruckLogics, we told you about how you need to watch your back while you drive. And it’s true! When you sit comfortably and don’t damage your back, you reduce the likelihood of personal injury and even roadside incidents.

Keep Your Distance


Always be aware of your lane distance as you cross the highways. Knowing your stopping and starting distance, break distance, and proper speeds will be essential for proper safety on the roads.

Stay Healthy


You know what sounds dangerous? Having a heart attack as you zoom down I-95, or any local highway.

That’s why we constantly tell drivers to eat healthy and exercise. Sure, exhaustion is dangerous enough, but your heart will be all the better with proper nutrition and regular exercise. With that one-two punch, you can reduce your excess weight

Bet you’d improve your sleep, too!

Watch for Blind Spots


Depending on what truck you’re driving, your blind spot is gonna be different. Make sure you know what your blind spot distance is, so you will know how far away a car or a person really is from your truck.

This will prevent major accidents on the road, when backing up, and even when removing items from your truck during a delivery.

Maintain Your Truck


Sure, maybe your employer is “responsible” for truck maintenance as a whole, but you should always implement pre-trip inspections and keep an eye on your truck out there on the road. These checks not only reduce the possibilities for something to go wrong, they also keep you secure in your work and your driving.

Manage Your Time & Profession


Time is money. Trucking is money. Instead of reacting to what happens on the road, plan ahead and document frequently. What we’re saying is, use a transportation professional software like TruckLogics to stay ahead of the game.

Sure, it might not prevent an accident as well as keeping the proper distance, but having access to all of your receipts, bills of lading, and invoices in one handy phone app will reduce a lot of the stress of your life.

Don’t forget, we’re only a few months away from your 2290 deadline—be sure to keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest HVUT e-filing updates!


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Friday, May 20, 2016

Logging Vehicles & Form 2290

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We hear it all the time — what exactly is a logging vehicle?

A lot of our 2290 filers see the option asking if their taxable vehicles are used for logging. This gets misunderstood, and they think that means logs that track mileage or fuel.

But logging vehicle really refers to hauling logs... as in felled trees and other products from the forest.

Now, according to the IRS a vehicle qualifies as a logging vehicle if:


  • It is used exclusively for the transportation of products harvested from the forested site, or it exclusively transports the products harvested from the forested site to and from locations on a forested site (public highways may be used between the forested site locations), -
-AND-
  • It is registered (under the laws of the state or states in which the vehicle is required to be registered) as a highway motor vehicle used exclusively in the transportation of harvested forest products. A vehicle will be considered to be registered under the laws of a state as a highway motor vehicle used exclusively in the transportation of harvested forest products if the vehicle is so registered under a state statute or legally valid regulations. In addition, no special tag or license plate identifying a vehicle as being used in the transportation of harvested forest products is required.


What do they mean by “products harvested from the forested site?”




Do ents count as harvested products?


Well, that basically means they include timber that has been processed for commercial use, as well as any other sawed, chipped, or milled product that occurred before transportation from the forested site.

The two types of commonly used logging trucks include those used on rough ground and forested trails, and those used for transport on normal highways and roads.

Trucks designed for forested (often temporary) roads are configured with emphasis on suspension and tires. Sometimes, you might see as many as nine axles in use to provide low ground pressure and solid traction.

These trucks are designed to climb a significant gradient, since timber is commonly grown in hilly landscapes.

While the logs are usually loaded with winches and cranes, they’re usually unloaded by letting them roll off sideways.

So if you have a logging vehicle, then you can check the box that says “Used for Logging” when you e-file your Form 2290.

Congratulations, you just got yourself a lower tax rate on your 2290!




If you have any questions about the status of your taxable vehicle when you e-file your 2290 this year, ask the dedicated support team at ExpressTruckTax! They provide 24/7 support via email, so you know we’re always ready to help you out.


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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tire Safety: Getting Ready for Roadcheck

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It’s official — the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced this year’s International Roadcheck will focus on tire safety! Taking place from June 7-9, this event is a joint effort of the CVSA and the FMCSA (and a few others).

So what all will Roadcheck focus on with tire safety? We’re going to break this down so that your wheels start turning.

Under Pressure


A tire which has too much or too little pressure could overheat, or it could be vulnerable to a dangerous blowout.

So how can you avoid dangerous vulnerabilities from low tire pressure?

Ideally, you want to make sure you have an accurate pressure gauge to detect under inflation. If they’re legal in your neck of the woods, you can also use a tire thumper to hear if your tires sound inflated.

Now a thumper won’t give you a precise measurement, but will let you know if you’re a wide margin off.

Tire Condition


Don’t ever underestimate the value of a visual evaluation, truckers.

What should you look for? Mainly anything that is visually wrong with your tires. Obviously, any bubbles and bumps are a sign of an impending blowout. Especially if you were to hit road debris. Speaking of, you want to also see if there is any debris between tires!

Tread Carefully


An often overlooked aspect of tire inspection is tire tread! Not just the treads themselves, but the depth and condition of the treads. Treads with a low depth can have uneven wear, and risk your exposure to blowouts and worse.

Tire Placement


Tires just go in their spots, right? It’s like building a LEGO set, isn’t it?

Well, not exactly. You need to make sure your tires aren’t mismatched. Matching tires are important! It’ll balance out your wear and tear.

And with dual tires, you need to make sure there is no contact between them. While that sounds obvious, it’s these little checks that can make a big difference.

It’s the Details


Overall, just look for little things that’ll set you back. Things to look out for include: damaged rims, missing valve stems, rusty/loose nuts, as well as oil and grease buildup/leaks.

With Roadcheck coming up, it’s a good idea to treat every pre-trip inspection like a big deal. With your tires in great condition, you’ll be able to knockout your trucking route.

As we roll closer to the HVUT 2290 and 2nd Quarter IFTA deadline, the helpful folks at ExpressTruckTax will be here to help you! Reach out to us at any time by email or by phone at 704.234.6005.

Are you ready for Roadcheck 2016?


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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

5 Reasons Truckers Get Burned Out

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Let’s face it, few things are worse than getting burned out on the job.

We hear about it all the time in the trucking industry, too. Maybe it’s the driver shortage, or maybe it’s the stress of the job.

But why do people get burned out? What challenges do truckers face that lead to burnout?

Not Enough Money


Nothing can demotivate a driver more than stagnating wages. It’s important to offer competitive rates in the industry, because people will need to be attracted into the profession. Or else labor will dry up over time.

Yet, money isn’t the biggest reason people leave the profession. In fact, money issues rarely account for more than 20% of exits from the industry.

Not Happy with Dispatching


When workers become dissatisfied with their supervisors, they will look for new opportunities elsewhere. We know that tension tends to exist between drivers and dispatchers/managers.

That’s why some companies have started initiatives to better profile and match drivers to dispatchers. This is a step in the right direction, but dispatching can still frustrate drivers.

Whether it’s unpaid wait time, being stranded far from home without a load, or bad directions—truckers have plenty to deal with between hauls.

Understandable how they might feel unappreciated.

No Appreciation


When a driver feels like they matter, they will put more effort and care into their work.

While truckers are used to hearing about their errors, receiving feedback on what they did right could help alleviate the frustrations that come with the job. Plus positive reinforcement from customers can help drivers set their own goals and improve relations.

Whether it's more customer feedback or initiatives taken to show drivers appreciation, something needs to give. Maybe even more me-time can help out!

No Home Time


Come on, who doesn’t want more time at home? Of course, the problem isn’t always just how much time at home.

But some drivers dislike the infrequency of time home, or the unpredictability of time off. Sometimes it's just how long each stay is.

Regardless, there should be efforts to maximize the recharging time drivers face when they get to go home. Whether that means routes closer to home or new scheduling efforts, there has to be a way.

Not What They Expected


But after everything is all said and done, a driver might realize this is not what they expected.

And if a driver is told they can earn a certain amount during recruitment, they may start to resent the company if the outcome is different. That results in recruiters looking shady and drivers feeling paranoid.

Maybe the problem isn’t money as much as it is the details of the job — the stress, the diet, or the schedule. Open communication will alleviate a lot of these issues.

One thing drivers won’t have to worry about is e-filing their IRS HVUT 2290 forms, because ExpressTruckTax has your back. Feel free to send us any questions you have at Support@ExpressTruckTax.com or by phone at 704.234.6005.

How do you think we can avoid driver burnout?


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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Working Together in the Trucking Industry

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You hear of it all the time—truckers dealing with nightmare dispatchers, pushing them to their limits and making the job dangerous.

And from the dispatcher’s desk you’d probably hear a slew of bad trucker stories.

But we’re not here to point fingers!

We’re actually here to discuss communication between the many facets of the trucking industry.

Start from the Top


Truckers take the freight where it needs to go. Everybody knows that!

But business plans, shipment orders, and staffing requirements come from the top half of the industry. Sure, sometimes it's fun to dog on the suits in the offices, but they do play a vital role in the industry.

With support staff including managers, sales teams, dispatchers, communications professionals, and mechanics, truckers aren’t the only hats in the business.

But they sure are the most important! Much like an assembly line or a rowing team, everyone needs to play their part, but the truckers are your star athletes.

With the right people at the top watching out for drivers, we’ll be in a good spot as an industry.

People Are People


Sometimes it's easy for both sides of the industry to forget they’re dealing with people.

As a trucker, you KNOW you’re a person, but it's sometimes hard to get along with someone when your dispatcher sees you just as a number they’re tracking.

You represent a set of statistics, yes, but you’re still a person.

And you know more than anyone that electronic devices shooting out numbers can’t match up to human intuition.

On the flip side, the dispatchers, managers, and clients you deal with are also trying to do a job.

Just like you sometimes have a bad day, they do, too. And they also have to deal with all of their drivers’ bad days, too.

So above all else, make sure both sides use people skills and we can make working together a lot easier for the whole industry.

The Rig vs. The Office


You might know how we feel about offices already.

That job works for some, but it's a different ballgame altogether. An office is a field where employees need to work together, day to day.

There are lots of spoken and unspoken rules about how coworkers can act and speak to each other.

Yet as a trucker, you are more frank with your thoughts and feedback, like a warrior-poet strapped to 18 wheels of philosophy. You’ll share your thoughts with whoever you please!

This might come as a shock to anyone who is new to the industry, or has minimal contact with truckers on a daily basis.

That’s not your fault, by any means. But with a little understanding, both sides can communicate better.

Let's Work Together


But when it comes down to it, the best thing you can do as a driver, a dispatcher, or a manager is to keep the people in your industry on your good side.

A positive attitude, some kindness, and mutual respect will go far.

There are always going to be people who grind your gears, but with some honest effort and respect, there can be plenty of personal friendships and professional alliances you rely on in this job.

When it comes to working together, let us work with you on your HVUT 2290s this next truck tax season. If you have questions about filing Form 2290, reach out to our support experts at Support@ExpressTruckTax.com and by phone at 704.234.6005.

How do you think we can improve communication between players in the trucking industry?


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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tired of the IFTA Headache? Try These Filing Tips

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Welcome to another great International Fuel Tax Agreement Deadline!

Now we know you aren’t too fond of deadlines, Trucking Nation. But we’re here to tell you, things don’t have to so bad.

First of all, we have your back! You don’t have to go into this report alone.

Secondly, we’ve put together some tips to help you on this fuel tax filing free-for-all.


Tip #1: Don’t File IFTA (Yourself)



Okay, this might sound out of this world, but have you ever thought about not filing IFTA yourself? Yeah, you can get somebody else to do it!

Like the dedicated experts at Truck Services of North America! Time is of the essence, though. The requests for TSNAmerica’s IFTA filing are filling up fast, so give them a call at 803.386.0320.

But don’t wait until Monday, because their hands will be full!



Tip #2: Trucking Professional Software



Here’s another tip—keep track of your fuel receipts and mileage with software designed by truckers for truckers. That’s right, TruckLogics!

With TruckLogics, you get cloud-based record keeping, mileage calculated by ProMiles, and integrated trip sheet generation.

Sure, maybe you won’t have time to use the full features of TruckLogics for this quarter, but it’s not too early for the next deadline. Now is the time to sign up so that your 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Quarters are easy.



Tip #3: Use the Features


Okay, okay, you’re here because you want to use ExpressIFTA. We get it!

If you, your spouse, your child, or your own accountant is generating your IFTA report, ExpressIFTA is your best choice.

Just create an account, add your truck information, and then fill out the interview-style forms with your mileage and fuel information.

And if you have multiple trucks, the TruckZone makes managing a fleet’s tax records easy.

We also have a GPS upload feature!



Tip #4: Start NOW!


Look, the deadline is Monday, May 2nd. If you’re generating your own IFTA report, you need to start now.

If you already have an ExpressTruckTax account, you know you don’t have to pay until you’re done. You might not know you can use the same login and password for ExpressIFTA. It’s that easy!

Then go ahead and generate your IFTA report. You don’t have to pay until you’re done, and by this point… time is of the essence.



If you run into any issues generating your IFTA report, feel free to reach out to our support team by phone at 704.234.6005 or by email at Support@ExpressIFTA.com.

Reach out to us if you have any questions. Happy filing, Trucking Nation!


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

5 Diet Tips for the Sedentary Trucker

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Now, we know not every trucker is OTR. But there are many members of our Trucking Nation who spend more time in their rig than they do anywhere else.

Hey, it’s a living! But now more than ever we know there are some health concerns with a sedentary lifestyle.

As for truckers? We know the human body faces additional stress from extended periods of sitting, but we also know those goods aren’t gonna deliver themselves!

There’s a dilemma, obviously. So we’ve gathered some healthy tips to help with your health concerns as a sedentary trucker.

Make a Plan


Like all good ventures, begin by planning out the route you’ll take.

Maybe you just eat too many carbs, and you need to cut them out. That’s a start! Just make sure you have a plan for the carb-withdrawal cravings, or you’ll end up at a truck stop binge eating potato chips!

Focus on your heavy hitters first, like the “empty” calories that don’t help you.

Calories Matter


Now, both men and women have a lot to contend with when it comes to calories. But how they intake calories differ, according to experts.

Typically, meal plans for women aim for about 1,800 calories per day (ages 19-50). According to the USDA, this could contain up to 2.5 cups of vegetables, 1.5 cups of fruits, 6 ounces of grain, and 5 ounces of high-protein foods like meats.

For men, a 2,400 calorie plan is encouraged. This would include 3 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruits, 8 ounces of grains, and 6.5 ounces of your high-proteins.

Now combating the sedentary life isn’t about losing weight, but if you master your calories you’ll see a definite decrease in pounds.

Fitness Helps


For a greater caloric deficit, become one of those fitness truckers!





We kid, we kid. Seriously, though, if you increase your burned calories, the deficit you create every day will contribute to your overall health.

It’s recommended that you get at least 30 minutes per day of exercise, which isn’t outlandish. We know most truckers are extremely busy, but it’s worth a shot. If you drive a flatbed, you probably get over 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Proteins are Everything


Basically, adult women need to eat about 46 grams of protein, and 56 grams of protein for men.

While carbs are an easy snack (I’m looking at you, bag of chips), there are plenty of protein alternatives you should seek out.

Instead of reaching for those chips, snack on some unsalted, roasted nuts!

Eat Unprocessed Foods


Speaking of chips, stay away from processed foods! I mean, we know you don’t have a ton of options on the road, but you can make some gains just by choosing wisely.

We know you might not be able to cook a full meal in your cab, but you can aim for more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables instead of processed snacks.

Also, just eat more salads. The vegetable kind!

At the end of the day, your bodily health is as important to your career as your truck’s maintenance. Don’t let it pass you by!

And don’t forget, the IFTA deadline is fast approaching. Generating your fuel tax report with ExpressTruckTax and ExpressIFTA is as easy as ever.

What are your tips to combat the sedentary lifestyle?
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Watch Out! Avoid These Scams in the Trucking Industry

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We’ve all heard the horror stories—whispers in a dark rest stop about a friend of a friend losing his freight, his job, and eventually his house to a scam.

It can happen to anybody, these days.

In the trucking industry, we like to watch out for each other.

No matter what side of the rig you stand on, there are scams running about. So watch out for these!

Fake Documents for Drivers


Sometimes a driver may receive a fax, letter, or email from someone with a Washington, D.C. contact and an official looking Department of Transportation letterhead.

The goal of this communication is to scare the driver into releasing their financial information, and then identity theft is easy.

Remember, a government agency will never ask you to disclose financial information unprovoked—no matter how official the letterhead.

If you are contacted by someone asking these questions, contact the agency yourself to find out if there is a real concern.

And remember to only use IRS-authorized e-filing services when it comes to your taxes.

Company Independent Contractor Scams


Now, there are sometimes mix-ups—and this could honestly happen by mistake.

But there are a few companies who think they can list employees as independent contractors to avoid compliance with Department of Labor regulations, IRS regulations, DOT regulations, and OSHA regulations.

Shady companies will see this as an opportunity to add to their bottom line, since they’re excused from covering employee expenses.

Since independent contractors aren’t employees, the driver ends up taking full responsibility in event of a citation, violation, or accident. Or they can lose their employment!

Of course, when tax time rolls around and the employee sees a 1099 instead of a W-2, things become more clear.

And by no means is there a problem with using independent contractors, but just make sure you know your status before it‘s too late.

Freight Identity Theft


It’s a pretty nasty scheme, really. Thieves will assume the identity of a trucking company from a deactivated and dormant carrier number from the Department of Transportation.

They then pretend to be a long-established firm with a good safety record, and will go as far as having fake paperwork and documents.

The cons then offer lower bids to freight brokers, and show up to the proper companies. It’s only once they get the goods that they vanish into thin air.

And just like your social security number can be stolen, your employer identification number (EIN) is always at risk for business scams! 

Stay vigilant and protect yourself from business identity fraud.

We know you’re worried about security, so rest assured that the ExpressTruckTax servers, data centers, and US-based customer support center are all in good hands. Your EIN is safe with us!

Whether you need to file your 2290s or generate an IFTA report, we’re here to offer you a safe and secure solution.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Will These 5 Technologies Help or Hurt Truckers?

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You hear it all the time, technology will kill the trucking industry.

We know that robo-truckers are supposed to show up with their drone-powered rigs and shut down the whole transportation field.

Until the Terminator has as much intuition as a veteran trucker, we’re not gonna lose sleep over it.

But what new technologies are being developed to help truckers?

From heartbeats to healthy sleep, we’re looking at 5 new and helpful technologies headed your way.

Seats That Monitor You


You spend most of your day planted in the seat of your truck—it’s the perfect way to monitor everything from your heart health to your alertness.

With increased monitoring, companies are hoping to create more awareness and prevent dangerous heart attacks from taking down truckers.

The seat could even alert a driver to pull over and await an ambulance's arrival!

A Steering Wheel and Gearshift That Feel You


With your hands strapped across the wheel, you know you’re in control of your rig. But are you in control of your health?

With biometric telemetry built directly into the hands-on parts of the truck, it will be easy to track health stats with your steering wheel or gearshift.

Imagine the possibilities when it comes to monitoring health this way—in every vehicle, drivers can be alerted if they’re above the drinking limit, if their diabetes is affecting their blood sugar, or if their blood pressure is dangerously high.

Your Mobile Tech Will Help


As phones continue to improve in speed and quality, we are going to see more mobile health advancements.

Mobile technology doesn’t just mean smartphones either! Smartwatches, fitness bands, and mobile monitoring devices will continue to improve and diversify into health and wellness.


Cameras Watching out for You


Nothing is more helpful in an accident than a good dash cam. But dash cams may just be the start. Mitsubishi is developing technology that will analyze truck movement, the driver’s expression, and heart rate to monitor fatigue and general health conditions.

Cameras are a touchy subject, though, because nobody wants their privacy invaded. Especially truckers—so this will be a growing technology to watch.

Improved Sleep with Better Devices


Sleeping makes the difference between a slow motion driver and lightning fast trucker! We’ve given out sleep advice before, but advice isn’t going to help you if you have sleep apnea.

Advancements in CPAP machines will not only increase their portability, but they can also record the quality, duration, and patterns of sleep. That would open the door to better predictions for drowsy driving.

As far as technologies that will help you, we only know so much of what the future will bring. What we know now is that the HVUT e-filing from ExpressTruckTax is technology that works for you now!

Do you think cameras will help your health? What about biometric seats? Let us know on Facebook!


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Thursday, April 14, 2016

5 Signs You’re not Ready for the Road

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Everybody has their pre-trip rituals. Sometimes that means stocking up on hygiene essentials, replenishing your nonperishable foods, or maybe catching up on this month's reruns.

Oh, and don’t forget, ensuring that you and your truck are ready for the road.

Obviously, inspecting and maintaining your vehicle are top priorities, but there are a few other concerns to watch out for.

Skimping out on Truck Inspections


Now, this goes without saying… but don’t skip over your pre-trip inspection. They’re designed not only for your safety, but to save you money as well.

I mean, it’s a lot cheaper to fix a problem when you’re parked than it is to have a flipped over trailer.

Yeah, that was one of the harder parts of getting your CDL—it’s a lot of memorization. But as a transportation professional, it’s what sets you apart from the rest.

You Ride Without Trip Planning


Experience is the best teacher you can have in this field. And the experienced truckers know you need to plan your trip ahead of time.

Download a trucking management program like TruckLogics, and use ProMiles for precise trip routing. ProMiles only chooses routes appropriate for heavy vehicles, eliminating costly mistakes, detours, and out-of-route mileage.

With TruckLogics and ProMiles, you can quote services to clients with more accuracy, instead of just rough estimations.

Plus, your recordkeeping afterward will increase thanks to one-click Trip Sheet generation!

Your House is in Disarray


We’ve mentioned tidying your cab before, but what about your house? Maybe you didn’t get to mow the lawn before heading out, or you know it’s time to do some Spring cleaning. Or on an even more personal note, someone in your family needs you.

Remember, downtime is important. Not just for your mental health, but for your financial livelihood, as well.

You're Just Going to Eat Fast Food Again


Come on, guys. We’ve talked about this. We know you don’t have a lot of time to plan meals, but with just a little bit of planning, you can eat a nutritious diet that keeps you away from the Big Mac.

You’re gonna spend most of your day sitting as you drive, so eating healthy enough to keep the pounds away will offset the decrease in calorie burning activity. And besides, you can always just do a trucker workout when you get off the road.

You Don't Have a Plan for Tax Filing


We hate to remind you of this ourselves, but your IFTA filing deadline is just around the corner.

That’s right, IFTA is coming!

And planning is everything when it comes to generating your IFTA report. Get ready for the upcoming deadline by calculating your IFTA tax amount ahead of time with the Fuel Tax Calculator.



And you remember all those Trip Sheets you generated with TruckLogics? Yeah, adding Trip Sheets to ExpressIFTA is easy.



Proactivity is the key to being a successful trucker. Ask yourself if you’re ready for the road!

As far as your IFTA report goes, if you run into any questions, the dedicated customer support team over at ExpressIFTA is ready to help! Give us a call at 704.234.6005 or shoot us an email at Support@ExpressIFTA.com.

What are your pre-trip rituals before hitting the road? Are you ready for every occasion?



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E-file IRS HVUT Form 2290 | Express Truck Tax Blog

Visit ExpressTruckTax blog for latest updates on e-filing IRS Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax Form 2290. E-file IRS 2290 VIN Corrections for Free.