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Thursday, December 6, 2018

What You Need To Know About The UCR Delay

Truck driving during Fall season preparing for fees after the 2019 UCR delay ends
Registration for the 2019 UCR is currently at a standstill until further notice per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s pending rulemaking process for 2019 fee levels. Following the FMCSA’s initial notice of proposed rulemaking in August to reduce UCR fees for 2019, the UCR delay was announced in October.

We’ve done some research during the “UCR waiting game” to provide you with what you need to know about the UCR delay.

What is UCR?

Unified Carrier Registration, or UCR, requires that drivers and companies who operate a commercial motor vehicle for interstate or international commerce, register their business with the state and pay an annual fee based on the size of the fleet.

Fees for this registration change annually and has been proposed to be nearly 18 percent less than the 2017 level to ensure fee revenues do not exceed the maximum statutory amount.

Proposed Annual Fee for 2019 UCR

According to the FMCSA notice of proposed rulemaking, 2019 proposed fees for motor carriers and brokers with zero to two power units would be $63, which is a decrease of $6 from the 2018 UCR fee. However, the UCR board originally anticipated the need to charge $10 more than this amount for the smallest of motor carriers.

Furthermore, the notice stated that “FMCSA proposes reductions in the annual registration fees states collect from motor carriers, motor private carriers of property, brokers, freight forwarders and leasing companies for the UCR plan and agreement for 2019, 2020 and subsequent registration years.”

Proposed Fees for 2019

0-2 trucks..............................$63
3-5 trucks............................$187
6-20 trucks..........................$372
21-100 trucks...................$1,299
101-1,000 trucks..............$6,190
1,001 trucks and more...$60,441

Stay Informed & Be Prepared To Register

Registration along with the collection of UCR 2019 fees was scheduled to begin October 1, but will most likely be delayed until after the start of the new year. Be on the lookout for updates from ExpressTruckTax regarding final 2019 UCR fees and how to register, process, and pay for your Unified Carrier Registration.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

How To Cook a Thanksgiving Meal In Your Rig

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How To Cook a Thanksgiving Meal In Your Rig
Happy Thanksgiving, truckers! Can you believe that turkey time is almost here? Some of you can, because you have probably been delivering loads and loads of turkeys so families all across the nations can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

We also know that with crazy Black Friday shipping demands that you’re probably busy driving during this holiday. We hope that you get the chance to go home soon and spend time with your family and friends. However, if you find yourself out on the road here’s how to prepare a full Thanksgiving dinner in your rig.

Cooking Your Own Trucking Thanksgiving Dinner

First of all, we need a moment to thank the crockpot for making cooking tons of delicious meals OTR possible. Thank you for giving truckers the opportunity to become in rig chefs and for providing excellent meal options aside from fast food.

That being said, you can cook your turkey exactly the way you want it in your crockpot! As you drive, your turkey will be slowing heating to perfection. Simply place your turkey in the crockpot with enough water to cover a third of it. You can use chicken broth instead of water if you would prefer.

Then add any spices, butter, and glaze that you would like and set the crockpot on low heat. In about five hours you will have one heck of a delicious juicy turkey! We recommend packing some snacks to eat while it’s cooking because that delicious turkey aroma will fill your rig.

You can also easily make banana pudding in your rig for a classic Thanksgiving dessert. All you need is pudding mix, water, vanilla wafers, and bananas. Follow the simple instructions and let the pudding chill in your mini fridge until you’re ready to eat it.

For a side dish, get some microwaveable sweet potatoes and head them up for about 5 minutes. Then you can add butter, cinnamon, and even mini marshmallows to them to make an OTR sweet potato casserole.

Another incredibly easy Thanksgiving side to make is cranberry sauce. Just open the can in your rig and enjoy.

Fruit salad can easily be mixed up in a large bowl. Apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, and multi-colored marshmallows with mayonnaise makes for a savory sweet and tangy fruit salad that you won't be able to get enough of.

Happy Thanksgiving

How To Cook a Thanksgiving Meal In Your Rig
The ExpressTruckTax team thanks you for all your hard work delivering goods across the US to make Thanksgiving possible. If you’re driving over the holiday, remember that cooking your favorite recipes in your rig is easier than you think, and actually can be cheaper (better) than truckstop turkey dinners.

Please tell us your favorite Thanksgiving traditions in the comment section below.




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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Healthy & Simple Recipes For Truckers On The Road

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Healthy & Simple Recipes For Truckers On The Road
There is nothing like a hearty, healthy meal after a long day on the road. If you have a slow cooker, here are some simple recipes any trucker can prepare in their truck. Cooking your meals while on the road is not only the healthier option–– it will save you money!

3 Easy and Delicious Trucker Recipes
Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This recipe is excellent for those long winter months we have ahead of us! The secret to this recipe is curry powder. It adds depth of flavor and turns the soup golden yellow, not to mention delicious!

Author: Summer Smith

Ingredients:
  • 3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, skinned and excess fat trimmed (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 medium parsnips, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
  • 2 stalks celery, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 2 -inch piece Parmesan rind
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh dill fronds, chopped (about 1 small bunch)

Instructions:
  1. Combine the chicken breasts, chicken broth, 2 cups of water, carrots, parsnips, celery, onions, Parmesan rind, curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken breasts. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat (discard the bones) and add back to the soup; add the peas and dill. Season with salt and pepper.
For more information: | CDLLife |

Chicken and Dumplings

How about a little comfort food tonight? This easy-to-prepare recipe can be prepped in your truck and will satisfy your craving for some good ‘ole-fashioned comfort food.

Author: Crockin Girls

Ingredients:
  • 4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless). You can also use a store-bought rotisserie chicken
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 can of Cream of Celery Soup
  • 3 1/2 Cups of chicken broth
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup of celery, diced
  • 1 cup of carrots, diced
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 10 ounces of can of biscuits, but you can make your own

*When I make this at home, I use 1/2 block of cream cheese and 1 cup of sour cream.



Instructions:
  1. EXCLUDING THE BISCUITS put all ingredients in, then cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  2. About an hour (give or take) before serving, remove chicken and pull into pieces and return to the soup mixture.
  3. Place the torn biscuit dough in and cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

For more information: | Crockin Girls |



Sweet and Sour Chicken

Craving Chinese food? Well, this is the recipe for you!

Author: Summer Smith


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken 
  • 1 egg 
  • ½ cup regular flour (or try almond meal for a healthier option) 
  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • 16 oz can tomato sauce 
  • ½ cup water 
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 2 tbsp ginger 
  • 1 small onion 
  • 1 red pepper 
  • 1 bag pre-cut broccoli 
  • 1-1 ½ cups pineapple 

Instructions:

  1. Add egg, flour, and oil to slow cooker 
  2. Add chicken 
  3. Let chicken cook for 1 hour on high 
  4. Add tomato sauce, water, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and ginger 
  5. Add onion, pepper, broccoli, and pineapple 
  6. Stir until everything is mixed well and covered 
  7. Set on high for 2.5 more hours (Time varies with your version of crock pot – If cook on low then needs to be 4.5 hours) 
  8. Can serve over rice 
For more information: | CDLLife |


We hope you have enjoyed these easy and healthy trucker recipes you can prepare in your rig while on the road!


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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Reefer Fuel Regarding IFTA?

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Everything You Need to Know About Reefer Fuel Regarding IFTA?
Personally, I'm a big believer in being prepared for anything and coincidence truckers are the same way. You never know what can happen, so it's always best to be ready. When it comes to the International Fuel Tax Agreement, you can never be too prepared, and the learning never ends. The rules governing IFTA are a bit lengthy, and every single state is different, but don't let that stress you out. IFTA is a lot easier when it is broken down, so let's go over everything you need to know about reefer fuel regarding IFTA.

What is Reefer Fuel?

First of all, reefer fuel is NOT included when filing IFTA when it is used to power the refrigeration unit of the trailer. You should always purchase reefer fuel on a separate fuel receipt.

Never pump reefer fuel on the same fuel receipt when fueling your power unit. This will lower your MPG and cost you more IFTA fuel tax. Also, if you are selected for an IFTA audit, and it is discovered that you combined reefer fuel into your power unit file, you will be penalized and incur added interest on your IFTA audit.

IFTA & Reefer Fuel

You are entitled to a federal tax refund on each gallon of reefer fuel. You will need the total number of gallons of reefer fuel purchased during the tax year to complete the refund form. The IRS will send you a check for the federal tax paid on each gallon of fuel. If you failed to file for this refund, you could file back for the past three years to claim your refund.


Everything You Need to Know About Reefer Fuel Regarding IFTA?You will want to check with your base jurisdiction to see how they handle reefer fuel. In Maryland, for example, if you only have one tank that propels your vehicle and runs the refrigeration unit, then all fuel is included in IFTA. If you have two separate containers, you need to fuel separately and make sure reefer is marked on the receipt. Do not add the reefer fuel on IFTA and you will able to get a refund by filing a claim.

So if you are operating an IFTA “Qualified Motor Vehicle” with a reefer unit, make sure to have the reefer fuel on a separate receipt and don’t include reefer duel on your IFTA return.

Generate Your IFTA Tax Report Today!

Our sister product, ExpressIFTA is full of innovative features to help you complete your IFTA quarterly fuel tax report. All you have to do to get started is create your free account, enter your business information, specify your base jurisdiction, enter your vehicle details, list your miles and fuel records, and generate your IFTA quarterly fuel tax report.

Say goodbye to that day of complicated calculations, ExpressIFTA’s software will accurately calculate your IFTA fuel tax rates and IFTA tax based on the information provided. Never worry about over or underpaying again.

Plus, their built-in diagnostic error audit can be run on your reports to catch any fundamental filing errors based on our estimated miles per gallon. It will recognize when miles traveled aren’t between adjacent states, and if you purchase fuel in a state you have not traveled in.



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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Everything You Need to Know 1099 vs. W2

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Everything You Need to Know 1099 vs. W2
As a fleet owner should you give your drivers a 1099 or W-2 Form? That’s the question for truck drivers and fleets we hear a lot. You might think you have a ton of time before the tax season, however, now is the time to get your documents in order. The last thing you want is the IRS on your case about the classification of your drivers.

While we do tend to focus on Form 2290, we understand the personal taxes of a professional truck driver can make a huge difference for both companies and drivers. 

Do Your Drivers Need a 1099 or W-2?

Misclassifications continue to be a subject for concern among both companies and drivers, so it is a point that needs particular attention. So how should your fleet approaches classification?

When you bring on a new driver, you should determine if they are a full-time employee or an independent contractor. This should be priority number 1!

This will determine if they will receive a 1099 or W-2. Now, we’ve heard stories from some drivers where companies won’t discuss employee status until tax forms are due, but we suggest clear and open communication with your drivers from the very beginning.

Some fleets might be tempted to put the burden of taxes on drivers and send them a Form 1099, but that route can only be traveled with specific conditions geared towards independent contractors.

My point is that treating a full-time employee as an independent contractor will lead the IRS to your front door. Plus, the IRS get their money one way or another. Might as well keep your classifications kosher. 

Independent Contractor or Company Driver?

The status of your drivers needs to be determined before the hiring process even starts. There are specific guidelines set by the IRS on what classifies as a contractor and which 1099 to file.

If you’re an independent contractor, you will have to cover your end of government expenses, but you also have more choice in how you haul.

Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute

If you have any questions about your business tax forms, contact our sister product, TaxBandits. It is their mission to help your business save time and money this upcoming tax season. Their bilingual support team is available via phone, live chat, and email. Click here to learn more.



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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Have You Received an IRS Letter About Non-Payment?

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Have You Received an IRS Letter About Non-Payment?
Don’t fret just yet! The IRS does this every year (we haven’t figured out why yet). If you filed close to the IRS Form 2290 deadline, there’s a good chance you’ve received one of these lovely letters from the IRS stating you never paid your 2290 tax.

Our best guess is that the IRS systems don’t communicate information all that well, especially when the volume of returns is so high. What we do know is this happens every year, and historically the IRS will send you a follow-up letter in a couple of weeks telling you the first letter was sent in error. So before you panic or throw this letter away, please double check to be sure the full tax amount was paid:

Why Would The IRS Send me a Letter?

It is likely an error on their end, but you always want to make sure. Before you panic or brush off the notice take the following steps:
Have You Received an IRS Letter About Non-Payment?1. Check how you chose to pay the IRS. (EFW, EFTPS, Credit/Debit, Or check/money order)

2. If you chose Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW) check your bank statement to verify the funds were successfully drafted from your account. If they were, you should be in the clear! Wait for a follow-up letter. However, if the amount has not been removed, we encourage you to contact us. There could have been an error when entering your account information.

3. If you chose to pay the tax with a debit or credit card make sure you did make that payment separately. (Note: This payment would’ve been made outside ExpressTruckTax after you completed your filing) If you didn’t realize this or forgot to pay, you can pay through Official Payments.

Always Happy To Help!

If you have any questions or concerns, contact us at 704-234-6005. We are always happy to help!

If you still need to file your Form 2290 click here. It is wise to file as soon as possible even if you can’t make the full IRS payment.



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Thursday, September 20, 2018

5 Need To Know Trucker Tips For Driving in The Mountains

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7 Need To Know Trucker Tips For Driving in The Mountains
Driving in the mountains can be intimidating for truck drivers, and that is especially true for rookie drivers. However, you can quickly gain confidence on mountain routes by following some basic safety rules and taking advantage of safety features available to you. Here are the seven need to know trucker tips for driving in the mountains.

Trucker Mountain Driving Tips


#1 Slow And Steady

Taking it slow and steady is probably the best advice for driving mountain routes. So many drivers make the mistake of traveling too fast on the steep grade because they misjudged its elevation based on its appearance. It’s tough to tell the grade of a hill just by looking at it, so it’s easy to make this mistake.

However, once your truck gains momentum traveling down the grade, it is nearly impossible to regain control. So take it slow and steady so as not to put yourself in this situation.

Our advice is to let the jake brake do the work of maintaining the constant speed. Also, touch the brake occasionally to keep your unit straight as you go down the hill. 

#2 Pay Attention to The Weather

If you are planning a route into the mountains, you will need to check the weather conditions. Mountain weather is unpredictable, so it is essential to check the weather the day of. If you find bad or dangerous weather conditions, you can consider an alternate route hopefully without a steep grade.

You should prepare yourself for changes in the weather as you are climbing or descending the mountain. The difference in altitude can bring a slew of weather conditions, so it is essential for you to stay alert to any changes.

Also, if there is a chain sign, please respect it. Put your chains on at the bottom of the hill. Don’t wait until you spin out and come back down the mountain.

#3 Don’t Tailgate

Leave as much room as possible between your and the vehicles ahead of you. Never tailgate on a mountain road. In the case of an emergency and you need to straighten out the truck. If your unit gets out of shape, you will want plenty of space to adjust.

7 Need To Know Trucker Tips For Driving in The Mountains

#4 Easy on Corners

Take corner on a mountain extra slow because your truck and trailer are extra vulnerable when not straight. Your rig is much more likely to jackknife when turning. You have much more controls over the unit when it is lined up traveling a straight line.

#5 Regaining Control

If you feel you are starting to lose control of the rig, try crowding the unit to the shoulder of the road if possible. This will hopefully allow you to catch gravel to straighten it out. Also gently tap on the trailer brake. This might be enough to pull your unit straight again.

Stay Safe Out There

Keep in mind, not every driver on the road is following all the proper safe driving rules and tips. They are just as likely to lose control or hit a patch of ice. Give yourself plenty of distance and be aware of potential dangers.

Also, before I let you go, I wanted to introduce our sister product, TruckLogics: the ultimate web-based business management software available. This program is designed specifically for the transportation industry with plans to fit the needs of fleet manager, leased owner-operators, and owner-operators alike. Sign-up for your free 15-day trial and see the difference TruckLogics can make in your trucking business.



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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The CVSA Brake Inspection Blitz is Here

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The CVSA Brake Inspection Blitz is Here
This week truck inspectors are ramping up enforcement, specifically on brakes, as part of the CVSA Brake Safety Week. This year is a return to normal for the CVSA after limiting last year’s inspection to a single day.

The CVSA has stated that the majority of inspections will be full Level I inspection. However, CVSA inspectors will have a particular interest on your brake components, including loose or missing parts, defective rotor conditions, air or hydraulic fluid leaks, pushrod travel, required brake-system warning devices, and other braking system components. All vehicles with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be removed from service until the issue is resolved.

The CVSA has stated that 14% of trucks inspected during the one-day inspection were placed out of service for brake-related violations.

The CVSA Level 1 Inspection

The CVSA (or Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance as many of you already know) uphold the commercial vehicle safety inspections in North America. They monitor the contravention, inspection, and accident information on your carrier profile. There are many inspection types but the level 1 is the most thorough and common. Click here to review the level 1 inspection list from the CVSA website. https://cvsa.org/inspections/inspections/inspection-procedures/

Performance-Based Brake Testing (PBBT)

In addition to the North American Standard Level I Inspection,12 jurisdictions will be using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment to measure your vehicle’s braking efficiency. This will measure the total brake force for your entire vehicle and then divide it by the total vehicle weight to determine the overall vehicles braking efficiency.

“The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5 percent, required by 393.52 of the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria.”


-The Commerical Vehicle Safety Alliance 


Again, keep in mind that vehicles with out-of-adjustment or defective brakes will be placed out of service. So that’s a headache you can easily avoid by taking the time to work on your brakes. Also, you should continue performing your pre- and post-trip inspections. 



Be Prepared For CVSA’s Brake Safety Day

If you need to perform a little maintenance on your truck now is the time, because if you don’t pass the inspection, you will get parked! Also, please do what you can to spread awareness about brake safety to your fellow drivers to reduce the number of crashes out there.
Please share your thoughts about the CVSA’s Brake Safety Week in the comment section below and be sure to follow us on social media!




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Friday, September 14, 2018

Where Would The United States Be Without Truck Drivers?

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National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2018 is this week September 9th -15th. ExpressTruckTax would like to thank all those within the industry for continuing to move America forward each day. However, much of the general public doesn’t realize how important truck drivers are in their lives. We tend to take our daily necessities and luxuries for granted when we don’t see the process. If truck drivers stopped working, the impact on our lives and our economy would be disastrous. So today we are answering the question of “Where Would The United States Be Without Truck Drivers?


Where Would The United States Be Without Truck Drivers?

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Take a Moment To Remember 9/11

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Take a Moment To Remember 9/11

No matter where you are and what you’re hauling today be sure to take a moment and reflect on 9/11, as today is the 17th anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil.

We know your hearts will swell with pride today as you see people on bridges and overpasses proudly waving our American flag. Many people can remember where they were and what they were doing the moment they heard about planes striking the World Trade Center. Those memories will most likely never be forgotten.

17 years ago the nation as a whole stopped as we watched the attack on World Trade Centers in New York. However, while the attacks shattered the steel of the twin towers, they could never dent the steel of the American resolve. In a time when the U.S. is divided with anger, violence, and strife it feels appropriate that we take a moment to remember.




During the attack, 2,763 people were killed within the burning and finally collapsing towers, including 343 brave firefighters and paramedics who struggled to evacuate the building and save the individuals trapped on blocked floors.

Hold your family and friends close, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. Let us stand together today and every day knowing that the cost of freedom does not come cheap and remembering all who were lost on that tragic day.

Two beams of light will be shooting into the sky tonight where the towers originally stood as a display to show Americans that we will never forget what happened as time passes and we progress as a stronger nation.

Join us in honoring our nation and all of those who were lost that day by saving this image and sharing it with #neverforget!


Take a Moment To Remember 9/11
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