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Monday, December 31, 2018

Are You Ready for the Upcoming UCR Deadline?

ExpressTruckTax has some excellent news for the trucking industry! You are now able to complete your annual Unified Carrier Registration process for 2019.


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.

If you’re a broker, private carrier, or freight forwarder, you are required to register and pay also.

When Do I Need To Register & Pay My UCR Fees?

Great question! You have until April 1 to register and pay your annual fees UCR for 2019.

Here’s what you’ll have to pay this year and next for UCR:



Where Can I Register & Pay UCR Fees?

You can register, process, and pay for your Unified Carrier Registration, or UCR, fees in one place at the Official UCR Board Certified Registration website.

April 1st will be here before you know it, so take a moment and handle your UCR requirements today while you still have time!


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The IRS is Currently Closed

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The IRS is closed for annual maintenance from now until mid-January.

The IRS noted that taxpayers should continue to file their returns and pay any taxes due as usual.

Here's a partial list of functions that directly impact taxpayers and would typically be put on hold during a government shutdown:
  • You cannot walk in and fill your 2290
  • Production systems are not operational at this time.
  • No tax refunds issued
  • No processing of non-disaster relief transcripts
  • No processing of forms 1040X, amended returns
  • No non-automated collections
  • No audit or examinations (some exceptions apply)
  • No legal counsel
  • No call center during Non-Filing Season 


For more information please see the: LAPSED APPROPRIATIONS CONTINGENCY PLAN
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Thursday, December 20, 2018

What You Need to Know About Form 1099-MISC For Independent Contractors

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What You Need to Know About Form 1099-MISC For Independent Contractors
Before you clock out for the holidays here is a reminder to file W-2s and 1099 Forms by the January 31st deadline!

Don’t get swept up in the hustle and bustle and forget to file Form 1099-MISC for your independent contractors. Don’t worry, you don’t need an expensive accountant and this solution won’t waste hours of your time. Visit our sister product TaxBandits to e-file and pay any owed taxes on time with their quick, easy, and secure step-by-step filing process. They provide filers with built-in error checks, bulk upload data, experienced US-based customer support, and so much more.

Here is what you need to know to file 1099-MISC Forms today!

Form 1099-MISC: Independent Contractors

Form 1099-MISC is used to report payments for services performed for a trucking business by people not treated as its employees, like subcontractors or independent contractors. The purpose of this form is to report miscellaneous income.

Employers must file Form 1099-MISC for non-employee compensation equaling $600 or more during the tax period. Your independent contractors will use this information to complete their income tax returns. Also, you are required to issue copies of Form 1099-MISC to your independent contractors by January 31.

Information Required To Complete Form 1099-MISC

What You Need to Know About Form 1099-MISC For Independent ContractorsLuckily it’s easy to complete Form 1099-MISC as long as you have your business records on hand. As a business, you’re considered the payer, and you will need to provide your business name, EIN (Employer Identification Code), and address.

Your independent contractor is your recipient, and you will need their name, EIN or social security number, and address. If you don’t have this information already, you can request their information through a W-9. The W-9 process takes roughly 60 seconds using TaxBandits and only requires the driver’s valid email address.

Then you will need federal details such as the number of miscellaneous incomes you provided to the recipient with the amount of federal tax withheld. You will also provide state details such as the state income, payer state number, and state tax withheld.

Filing Form 1099-MISC With TaxBandits

You can complete Form 1099-MISC in a matter of minutes with TaxBandits. All you have to do is create your free account and follow the interview style e-filing process. Helpful tips along the way to explain what information is required to complete your form and where it needs to be entered.

Plus, they offer exclusive e-filing features to make the entire process super convenient. For example, you can save time by using the bulk-upload feature to import all of your independent contractor information at once.

Also, forget about heading to the post office! Simply use the postal mailing feature to have TaxBandits print and mail hard copies of Form 1099-MISC to each of your recipients.

If you need any assistance while e-filing 1099-MISC, the 100% US-based TaxBandits support team is standing by to help.

E-File Form 1099-MISC



Don’t Forget About IFTA

Your 4th Quarter IFTA Return is also due on January 31, so head to ExpressIFTA to easily record all of the calculations you need to complete your return online. ExpressIFTA will even import your ELD data to make IFTA reporting even easier.

At the end of the quarter, all of your information will be totaled up in a quarterly IFTA report that you can download, print, email, and use to complete your IFTA return instantly! Get started with ExpressIFTA to take the hassle out of fuel tax reporting now!


File My IFTA Return



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Thursday, December 6, 2018

What You Need To Know About The UCR Delay

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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.



File Your IFTA Taxes Online






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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.



Learn More About TaxBandits






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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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E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.