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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New Trucker Mistakes

New Trucker Mistakes
New Trucker Mistakes
It’s no doubt that an influx of truckers enter the industry every year - it’s undeniable, the turnover rate in this industry can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, sometimes the system that feeds negativity into itself - new drivers hear disheartening information and carry this on their shoulders. After a while, the attitude can sour a driver.

Learning The Wrong Stuff From the Veterans


If you’re new, you need to learn the ropes from those that know them. Sure, school teaches you the rules, but putting these techniques into practice teaches you how they work in the practical sense. Someone who has backed their trailer in a thousand times can offer advice you may have missed.

As far as rookie drivers go, you should apply your learnings to the logic of seasoned drivers, picking up the safe and time-saving tricks and tips they offer. However, be sure to shrug off any unsafe shortcuts.

According to what one trucker told Business Insider, you’re getting ripped off if you’re less than 33 cents a mile.

If new drivers need to learn anything, it’s the livable rates they should earn for driving. Nobody wants to be ripped off, but the risk is high for truckers.

Just remember, if something is too good to sound true, it is!

Rushing Into It Without a Plan


It’s tempting to push through your training, ready for the actual job. But think about it - you don’t want to land a gig and find out that you are clueless! Sure, you will feel a little lost when you start a new job regardless, but you don’t want to leave your training without a clue!

Sure, you’re ready to drive - but make sure you’re not desperate. Desperation can lead new truckers to do reckless things, and that’s the last thing we need.

According to some seasoned drivers, new drivers are so green that they don’t understand that leasing trucks come with a significant cost of maintenance and overhead. When young drivers end up in this situation, they can have very little to show for it.

If you’re spending $900 a week on your truck, and find yourself barely able to afford ramen noodles, you need to rethink what you’re doing here!

Perpetuating the attitude, when you get started at your new company, you were introduced to a grizzled, older trucker who seems unphased by your presence. He probably doesn’t care about you - that you knew from the moment he grumbled something under his breath and walked off.

Don’t be that guy. I mean, everybody has bad days - that’s unavoidable. But you don’t want to be the one who perpetuates the poor attitude trope. You don’t have to be pure sunshine, but communicating in a likable fashion allows you to build relationships as you progress in your field.

Ask questions, be honest with your coworkers, and win them over with competence and openness. What you bring with your positivity will help you as an earner, and provide an example for other truckers.

With the right attitude, you’ll even avoid driver burnout.

Getting Burned Out


Some people get into trucking as a temporary way to earn some cash until they figure out their next venture. That’s fine! But If you want to last in this industry, you need to take care of yourself and keep a nice environment.

Taking care of yourself means a few different things. First, whether you’re an owner-operator or a company driver, if you drive local or OTR, you should go out of your way to work (and possibly live) in a nice, clean truck.

Other burnout prevention methods just happen to cross paths with health and hygiene tips, surprisingly. If you want to keep a sound mental state, find ways you can relax in your downtime.

Don’t get too relaxed, though! You should also find ways to improve your food and fitness routines!

One of the worst mistakes you can make is not e-filing your Form 2290 when the deadline rolls around - or when you purchase a new truck.

With ExpressTruckTax, e-filing HVUT is not only easy, it’s fast, safe, and supported by a great U.S.-based customer satisfaction team. E-file with us and we’ll answer any and all questions you may have.

So for all of our new truckers, let this be your year to be the best trucker ever!

Related Blog: 3 Reasons You're Not Cut out to Be a Trucker


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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Buying a New (To You) Semi-Truck

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Buying a New (To You) Semi-Truck
Buying a New (To You) Semi-Truck
Buying a new vehicle is a hassle. Whether you’re buying a sedan for the family, or that hot rod you’ve always dreamt of, you’re gonna face some kind of trouble.

But what about when you want to buy a new semi-truck?

Choosing Your Truck


Your first determination will be, do you want a new truck or a used truck? In order to figure that out, you need to think about what you will be doing with your truck. Unfortunately, new trucks run between $80,000 and $150,000. With all the bells and whistles out there, you could sit right near $200,000.

Of course, getting a new truck usually means you’re getting a warranty, too. That will offset costly repairs, at least!

If you’re running local freight and one day jobs, getting your hands on a used semi-truck could be a better option.

Whichever option you pursue, you need to figure out your margins and set a budget. This should not only include what you can afford to buy, but it should also factor in what your fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs will be with said truck.


Related Blog: HVUT Credits: Selling & Purchasing Vehicles

How Do You Pay For It?


That’s the most important question, isn’t it? There are basically two payment routes you can take when it comes to purchasing your truck - financing and outright purchasing.

We’ll have to break this down into two categories: Why you should seek out financing, and why you shouldn’t.

If you own a trucking business, some of the costs of the vehicle and the depreciation can be deducted from your taxes - make sure you keep detailed records. However, on the plus side, many loans don’t require an initial payment, so there’s

However, there are some disadvantages to financing your truck. First, if your loan payments are high, you’re gonna feel it in your wallet. On top of that, you’re still responsible for your own truck maintenance, including parts! Plus, the truck isn’t technically yours until you’re done paying it off.

After all of that, some financiers will only supply financing if you already own multiple trucks, making this harder for single truck owner-operators!

If You Go Used, Get Inspected


While buying a used truck might be the most affordable option for you, you need to make sure you’re not throwing money into a lemon.

So when you buy a used vehicle, make sure you get the truck thoroughly inspected.

While they may swear the truck works great, and you may know your way under the hood of a truck, getting an independent mechanic to inspect the vehicle can save you in the long run.

It might cost you around $100 now, but if it saves you thousands in repairs down the road, where’s the loss?

When you get an inspection, the key points you want to have examined are axle configuration, truck horsepower and capacity, engine condition, brake systems, cab condition, and the maintenance logs.

If all clears, you found yourself a good investment!

Once you have your new truck on the road, you’re going to need to e-file Form 2290. Head to ExpressTruckTax and sign up for a free account - you won’t have to pay until you transmit your heavy vehicle use tax!


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Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Ways to Survive Truck Driving School

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Every year, tons of hopeful truckers enroll in schools and programs to get their CDL's. As with any training program, the work is tough, and you get out of it what you put in. But how can you make sure you survive the whole process? Let’s run through this!

Start Early


So once you’ve been accepted and enrolled into a program, you need to hit the ground running. Find out what books and training materials you need as soon as possible, and start reviewing.

Review everything. It’ll be tough, but you will understand more of what you’re learning later. Learn the definitions of words, or at least familiarize yourself with them.

Also, look into some online communities and learn what you can from there. Whether that’s lingo, or survival tips, you can find plenty in forums, social media, and blogs!

Study Hard


Oh, nobody wants to hear it. You need to study hard. Yeah, you’re going to spend a lot of time learning all this in your classes, but you’re gonna have to put in a ton of time and study hard.

Think about it, not everybody passes their CDL right away. You want to become a trucker, so you’re going to need to get through your training and learn as much as possible.

You don’t want to be a rookie trucker forever, do you? Or worse, a CDL dropout?

Start Sleeping Well


This is a tough one. You might not know this, but sleep is crucial for success, health, and happiness. While you might imagine a gruff, short-tempered trucker as the standard cut of the cloth, that isn’t actually the case.

But plenty of truckers out there have sleep problems from the lifestyle. Of course, this leads to risks. Without sleep, you can find yourself with a grumpy disposition, impaired immunity system, and unable to concentrate.

That’s why you need at least eight hours of sleep, which is even more important once you’re a truck driver. So start doing everything you can to improve your sleep schedule!

Start Being Healthy


When you’re learning the ins and outs of your CDL, you should also spend some of your time off implementing healthy habits that will stick with you in the cab.

Start with your fitness by creating a good workout routine that will stick with you. Learn how to use your environment and your own body, or find mobile fitness tools and routines you can take with you.

We’ve given you fitness advice before, but we’re also big proponents of healthy eating. Ask any trucker about food on the road, and you’ll find out that truck stops are full of convenience foods — not health food.

Now, we’re not saying you need to eat kale chips every day (they’re good, I swear!), but you should do what you can to eat plenty of fresh veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Your diet will affect your disposition as much as sleep and fitness, so start eating right!

Of course, there are other problem areas for truckers — like perpetual back injuries from sitting all day, for example. You will need to watch your health as a trucker, bottom line.

Plan Ahead


Our first bit of advice is to start setting personal goals beyond getting your CDL. All things considered, you will put in the hard work and it’ll pay off with a CDL, and hopefully a trucking job!

But then you will have to decide what kind of job you want to have, where you want to be based out of, and all sorts of other considerations.

While you’re still in school, figure out what you like about driving a truck, learn about company drivers as compared to owner operators, and connect with other students.

No matter what you do, getting your CDL is hard work. With all the hard work you put in, you’ll be a truck driver before you know it. Once you’re a trucker, we’ll be ready to help you e-file Form 2290 right here at ExpressTruckTax!


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Thursday, November 10, 2016

You have a New EIN? You Might Need Form 8849!

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You have a New EIN? You Might Need Form 8849!
You have a New EIN? You Might Need Form 8849!
So you finally did it - you took the plunge and became an LLC, allowing yourself more business protection and earning yourself a new EIN.

Unfortunately, this leads to many unforeseen complications. For example, how do you go about e-filing your 2290's for your trucks now? Are you just going to go ahead and file anyway?

Unfortunately, you can’t assume everything will be A-OK - you just fundamentally changed how your business is handled by the IRS, and so you will need to account for this with your trucks.

IRS Form 8849


While some people think it’s best to file wait for the new tax period and file Form 2290 when you change your business status, there is another option. You can also file Form 8849, the Claim for Refund of Excise Taxes.

If you’ve sold a vehicle recently and you had already filed Form 2290 Return, you would need to file Form 8849, Schedule 6 in order to claim your credit.

You also need to use Form 8849 if your vehicle was stolen, destroyed, or if Form 2290 was paid and the vehicle was used 5,000 miles or less on public highways (7,500 or less for agricultural vehicles) during the tax period.

New EIN Complications


So what do you do when you become an LLC, and you all of the sudden realize your trucks are still tied to your old EIN?

Once your business name or EIN has changed, then you need to file a new 2290 form and get a prorated refund for the taxes paid under the previous name or EIN. Just e-file a new Form 2290 for all vehicles under this new name or EIN, then e-file a Form 8849 under the old name or EIN to get some of your original filing back.

A lot of our users don’t realize they have to go through this entire process, which is why we’re here laying this out for you!

How Do You File Form 8849?


If your new EIN requires you to file an 8849, you will need your name and address, making sure it is an accurate match to what the IRS has on file.

You will also need your old EIN number, and any other pertinent business details for your old “business.” Finally, you will need the vehicle information you are claiming a refund for.

If you are filing because the vehicle was sold/stolen/destroyed, you will need the date the event occurred.

How Can You File?


Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to e-file Form 8849 - you just have to sign in to ExpressTruckTax, select Start New Return, and then choose Form 8849 Schedule 6.






Then you just follow the step-by-step process to e-file Form 8849, just like you did with Form 2290.

If you have any questions about e-filing Form 8849, you can contact us at 704.234.6005.


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Monday, October 31, 2016

Today Is Your IFTA Deadline

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Today is Your IFTA Deadline
Today Is Your IFTA Deadline
Do you know what today is? Yeah, it’s that spooky time of year we all look forward to - Halloween - but it’s also the 3rd Quarter International Fuel Tax Agreement deadline!

That might sound scary, but don’t worry, we got you covered. With our cloud-based software, we’re the best option for generating your IFTA taxes online.

Just the Facts


Truckers who drive between IFTA member states need to have an IFTA decal (the one with your base jurisdiction) on your truck. If you’re a company driver, this might be taken care of for you, but for everyone else, today is the day to file your IFTA report.

If you can’t file today, you still have to file your IFTA report later. If you file late, you’re going to face IFTA penalties. In most IFTA member states, the penalty for late filing is a flat rate fee of $50 or 10% of the taxes due, depending on which is greater in value. Of course, in Nevada, the penalty for late filing is a $50 flat fee plus 10% of the taxes due.

Once you’re late,, you will be charged .4167% of the tax due every month until the tax amount is paid. Except for in Nevada, where you’re charged .4167% of the tax due every month, as well as an administrative late fee of $100 the first time, $500 the second time, $1000 the third time, $1500 the fourth time, $2000 the fifth time, and $2500 for every time after that.

The Deadlines Are When?


IFTA runs on a quarterly system, which means there are four deadlines throughout your tax year. The calendar of IFTA due dates are as follows:

  • Q1: January - March, due date of April 30
  • Q2: April - June, due date of July 31
  • Q3: July - September, due date of October 31
  • Q4: October - December, due date of January 31


What Should You Do?


If you’ve come across our blog, there’s a good chance you need to file an IFTA report. To do that, you’ll have to have your fuel logs, mileage records, and trip logs ready to go. Simply sign up for an ExpressIFTA account and within a few clicks and some quick entries, you’ll have the easiest IFTA quarterly return possible. Have questions? Call our customer support experts at 704.234.6005!


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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Downtime Entertainment: Fun and Games on the Road

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Fun and Games on the Road
Fun and Games on the Road
When you’re out on the road, you have enough troubles to contend with.

Over the years, we’ve encouraged proper health through diet and exercise, but sometimes you need to give your mind a workout.

So we asked Susan, one of our truck tax experts and our resident Queen of Sage Advice, about how truckers can work their mental fortitude while on the road.

Here’s what she had to say:




You may spend most of your driving time in your own head. When you park at the end of your shift, all you want to do is decompress with some guilty pleasures, like binge watching TV shows or movies. But it’s much healthier to get out and about doing something physical (walking), social (talking with someone while you walk), or learning something new (juggling maybe?).

After some physical exercise, consider working that grey matter in your head with some games and puzzles.

Studies have shown working your body will increase oxygen flow throughout your system. They also show engaging in mental play can also be good for your overall health and well-being.

Putting the Pieces Together


With its birth around 1760, the jigsaw puzzle is a good way to work those brain muscles. Either done solitary or with a friend or two, puzzles have come quite a long way from its rudimentary beginning of paper on wood.

From small (100 pieces or less) to colossal (record breaking 24,000 pieces) there is a picture and number of pieces that will work for you. Puzzles can be kept with a puzzle keeper, found in many big box stores, or use a roll of felt to keep the pieces from moving around. You can even work puzzles online, use “free jigsaw puzzles” in your search.

Consider the Game at Hand


There are all kinds of card games available using standard decks or special decks, like Pinochle, UNO and many others. If you want to really flex your brain, consider learning Bridge, one of the greatest thinking card games around.

Cards can be played in groups or online. If you prefer, there is the ever popular Solitaire, but there are also variations of Solitaire, other than the well known Klondike.

There are books and online sources with instructions, or just look for virtual games where you can play a hand or two with players from around the world.

If You're Bored, Try Board Games


If you don’t have a physical board game available, take a look at what is available online. Scrabble has a broad online player universe, giving you the opportunity, just like with cards, to meet other game players from around the world.

There are always the classic games that will engage the brain just as well: dominoes, checkers, Chinese checkers (marbles), Bunco (dice), chess, and backgammon. Plus, there are many new incarnations of these games available.

Playing games, interacting with others in person (or online) can be just what ‘the doctor ordered’ to help you remain sharp and focused while on the road. The great thing about these mental gymnastics? You can play anytime and anywhere you park your rig.

When it comes to filing that 2290 HVUT, using an 8849 Schedule 6 for a refund, or filing that VIN correction, the team at ExpressTruckTax.com wants you to know that we don’t play around.

Our system makes it easy and fast to complete your filings. Plus, we are here to guide you through the steps so you can get on with your day.

Give us a call Monday - Friday, 8 am to 6 pm EST - or drop us an email with any questions you may have. Plus, drop in anytime and visit with us on Twitter or Facebook. It’s always nice to chat with friends!


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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Gross Vehicle Weight Increase: E-Filing Form 2290 Amendments

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Gross Vehicle Weight Increase
Gross Vehicle Weight Increase
As part of our series on e-filing Form 2290 Amendments, we have to discuss the elephant in the room.

Yup, that’s right… Gross vehicle weight increases! If your truck goes up to the next weight class, that means you have to pay an increase on the heavy vehicle tax you owed during tax season.

Weight Classes


There are eight weight classes for trucks, and three weight categories. They include light duty, which is 6-15k lbs, medium duty, coming in at 14-26k lbs, and heavy duty, which ranges from 26k-33 lbs.

These three categories then get broken down into eight smaller weight classes. The weight class then determines how much you will owe in heavy vehicle use taxes for that year. The heavier your vehicle - the higher your taxes will be.

Gross Vehicle Weight Increases


With ExpressTruckTax, all you need to do is e-file a Form 2290 Amendment to account for your vehicle’s gross weight increase. It’s easy, it’s economical, and we’ll tell you how to do it!





After signing in, you start your amendment like we’ve discussed in our previous posts. Once inside the amendment form, you select your vehicle’s first-used month, and then select the month where your vehicle’s weight change occurred.

If you already e-filed your HVUT form with ExpressTruckTax this year, you just select the vehicle(s) you need to amend from your previous return and choose your new weight class. If you’re changing the weight for multiple trucks, click “Save & Add Another.”

Pro-Tip: If you e-filed your 2290 with us this year, you are able to e-file a FREE VIN correction.

After that, you simply choose your payment method like you would for your regular 2290, and follow through to transmittal.

Don’t forget, you need to submit your amendment by the last day of the month following the month in which your weight increase occurred. If your weight increase occurred in February, you would need to file your amendment by the end of March.

The good news is, that’s all you need to do! It’s a pretty simple process, actually.

If you need help e-filing any amendments, call us at 704.234.6005, or hit us up on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be here to help in any way we can!





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Friday, September 23, 2016

Exceeding the Mileage Limit: E-filing Form 2290 Amendments

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E-Filing Form 2290 Amendments
E-Filing Form 2290 Amendments
As we move further away from 2290 deadline season, it becomes more clear that filers might need to make amendments, corrections, and changes to the 2290’s they’ve already filed.

Of course, we’re not going to cover all of those corrections that can be made in one post. As part of our ongoing discussion about e-filing Form 2290 Amendments, we’re focusing on what to do when you Exceed the Mileage Use Limit.

Mileage Limits on IRS Form 2290


Mileage use limit for a heavy vehicle on public highways is 5,000 miles (or) less (7,500 miles (or) less for agricultural vehicles). The mileage use limit applies to the total mileage a vehicle is on the road during a period, regardless of the number of owners.

Just like when we talked about VIN corrections, ExpressTruckTax has an option for those who exceed the mileage use limit.

Exceeding the Limit


What should you do when your suspended vehicles exceeds the mileage use limit?

It’s not unusual for a suspended vehicle to exceed its mileage use limit, which is why the IRS allows you to file an amendment if your vehicle exceeds the mileage use limit.

So how do you do it? Traditionally, you to need to calculate the tax on Form 2290, page 2, based on the month the vehicle was first used in the period. After that, you file the amended Form 2290 and Schedule 1 by the last day of the month following the month in which the mileage use limit was exceeded.

However, if you want to file your amendment fast, login to ExpressTruckTax.com, where it's easy to file a mileage limit amendment and accurately calculate the tax due to IRS. Best of all, you will get your Schedule 1 for the new claim within minutes.




If you’ve e-filed with us before, you can select that return from our system. We also accept new filers, as well.

If you have questions about e-filing a 2290 amendment, please call us at 704.234.6005 - we're here ready to answer your call in Rock Hill, SC, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Form 2290: Adding Suspended Vehicles

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Form 2290: Adding Suspended Vehicles
Form 2290: Adding Suspended Vehicles
Since we’ve been talking to you about Form 2290 Amendments, we decided to switch gears and talk a bit about suspended vehicles and IRS Form 2290.

If you didn’t realize it on our last post about VIN corrections, we’re big on making the process easier.

Understanding Suspended Vehicles


In order to file a regular-usage vehicle as suspended, its mileage use on public highways must be 5,000 miles or less; and for an agricultural suspended vehicle, the mileage use must be 7,500 miles or less.

Regardless of the number of owners, the mileage use limit refers to the total mileage a vehicle is used during the taxable period.

Like we said, agricultural vehicles have different rules. An agricultural vehicle is any motor vehicle that is used for farming purposes primarily, and registered as a highway motor vehicle by state law, and is used for farming purposes for the entire period. A farming vehicle has a special tag or license plate that identifies its agricultural status.

While you have to claim a suspended vehicle like you would any tax filing, it’s still a different process.

So what are the steps? They are as follows:

  • Just like in your standard filing, you select your First Used Month & Year right away. 
  • After that, if you were filing your typical 2290, you would enter or import your Taxable Vehicles. If you are still filing your 2290, go ahead and do this. 
  • At the next step, you simply add your Suspended Vehicles like you did with your taxable vehicles. 
  • On the next few steps, you’re able to view your information and edit it if necessary. 

Finish everything up like you would with your normal HVUT 2290 filing!




While it’s tempting to just skip the taxes that confuse you, it’s important to make sure you file your Form 2290 in all of it's glory. If you have any questions about e-filing a suspended vehicle, reach our customer support experts at 704.234.6005.



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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Correcting a 2290: Part 1 - VIN Corrections

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Correcting a 2290: Part 1 - VIN Corrections
Correcting a 2290: Part 1 - VIN Corrections
So you e-filed your HVUT 2290, but realize you made an error on your VIN, yet the IRS accepted it
anyway. What do you do?

Well, if you e-filed with us, you can just login and e-file one of the Form 2290 Amendments we offer - specifically, the free VIN correction!

Since filing season has come and gone, we decided that we’re going to spend the rest of the month focusing on a favorite subject of ours: HVUT amendments and corrections!

We know mistakes happen, and that includes mistakes on the IRS Form 2290. With our free VIN correction option, you won’t have to worry about it anymore. We also offer VIN corrections at a small cost, no matter who you filed with. What we’re saying is, we have you covered!

So how do you e-file a VIN correction?

VIN Correction Made Easy




It’s pretty simple, you just start at the dashboard (after signing in) like always, and then select Start New Return.

You’ll be promoted with a few options - just press Start under “Form 2290 Amendments.”

From here, you can choose if you want to file a VIN Correction, a Taxable Gross Weight Increase, or a Mileage Exceeded amendment.

After that, you simply let us know if you filed with us before, and then we’re on our way to fixing that VIN!




Remember, if you e-filed with ExpressTruckTax, you can just e-file a VIN correction without paying anything. However, we will need your credit card information for verification purposes, but the service itself is free. After you correct your VIN, your corrected Schedule 1 will arrive within minutes.


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ExpressTruckTax Blog

E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.