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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Here Comes 2016!

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It’s almost time for New Year’s celebrations, Trucking Nation! Time to celebrate the end of a great year and the start of an even better one. Our year here at ExpressTruckTax has been our best yet, but we’re sure there’s even better things in store for 2016. We hope the same is true for you and all your loved ones.

New Year’s Support Availability

We’ll be taking time to observe the changing of the year this New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, so we’ll be out of the office on Thursday and Friday. We’ll still be available through emergency email support at support@expresstrucktax.com should anything pressing come up for you during this time.

IRS E-file Blackout Continues

And don’t forget the IRS e-file blackout will still be going on this long weekend as well. We now have an estimated end time for the blackout from the IRS of January 11th. The bottom line on the blackout is that you can still prepare your Form 2290 with us, and as soon as the IRS notifies us the e-file system is back up we’ll e-file your return. We’ll get your stamped Schedule 1 to you within minutes of the blackout’s end.

Start the Year Off Right With TruckLogics

With the start of a new year, now would be a good time to start using our one-stop transportation business application, TruckLogics. With TruckLogics, you can manage invoices, keep track of all your business documents, and stay on top of your compliance records, such as IFTA and HVUT. Whether you’re a one-truck owner-operator, or manage a whole fleet, TruckLogics has the solution for you. You can contact our TruckLogics support team at 704.234.6946 or by email at support@trucklogics.com.


Contact Us on Social Media

We’re looking forward to reading your comments on our Facebook page and your tweets on our Twitter. Your input is crucial to our providing you the absolute best in customer service and exactly what you want from us. You can post or tweet stories about your New Year’s celebrations and resolutions, or even just reflections on this time of year.


Father Time keeps marching on, but we always freeze time during this period to seize the moment and celebrate our successes, ruminate on what we could have done better, and especially to resolve to improve ourselves and our lives as best we know how. May all your festivities be joyous, happy, and above all, safe. Happy New Year, Trucking Nation!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

#TruckTechTuesday: RigMinders

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Happy Holidays, Trucking Nation! We here at ExpressTruckTax love to share with you new innovative ideas on #TruckTechTuesday, and today is no exception. RigMinders, a sister app of ExpressTruckTax, is a free app that you can easily download to your Apple or Android electronic device. RigMinders gives you the ability to remind yourself about all things trucking in one convenient location.


RigMinders Keeps Your Life in Sync

RigMinders is THE deadline reminder app for transportation professionals. With this app, you won’t need to write down, set an alarm, or tie a string around your finger to remember important trucking deadlines. RigMinders does it all for you!

You can either set up pre-programmed deadline reminders, or customize your own reminders.

Free Trucking Reminders, Anytime
Pre-programmed reminders include HVUT, IFTA, as well as UCR and IRP permit renewals, and others, including state use taxes. You can customize reminders according to time (same day, day before, week before) or by type (push notifications, email, or both).

The app can notify you of truck deadlines coming up in the next 90 days, and it can also notify you about those deadlines coming up after 90 days as well.

Not only that, you can set up personal reminders such as bills, maintenance appointments, expiration dates, and other reminders you might want to create. It’s like having your own secretary right on your electronic device!

RigMinders is a great time saver, and lifesaver! It’s as easy as a swipe of your finger!

Rigminders Support
The support team at RigMinders are available at 704.234.6946 over the phone, and by email at support@rigminders.com.


Contact Us
And our expert support team at ExpressTruckTax is ready to answer any questions or concerns you might have about ExpressTruckTax at 704.234.6005 and support@expresstrucktax.com.

Join the conversation on our Facebook page, or tweet at us on Twitter. We always want to read your stories and ideas, whether it be about RigMinders, ExpressTruckTax, or any other trucking related topic that might be on your mind. This give and take between you and us allows us to have the necessary feedback and insight into what you want and need from us to provide you with absolutely the best service available anywhere. Thanks, Trucking Nation!


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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

An ExpressTruckTax Christmas

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It’s hard to believe, Trucking Nation, but Christmas is just a few days away. Where did all the time go? Hopefully, you’ve got most, if not all,of your shopping done and are ready for perhaps a day or two off the road to spend with family and friends. However you spend the holiday, we hope your Christmas will be the best yet.


The ExpressTruckTax family will be out of the office celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and returning back Monday 12/28. During this time, we will be available via email at support@expresstrucktax.com if you have any HVUT-related emergencies.

And if you’re among the many who purchase (or even receive from Santa) new trucks this time of year, you can file your new 2290 with us. ExpressTruckTax makes taking care of your HVUT responsibilities a breeze!

One of the best parts of serving you is getting to read your posts on social media. Join the conversation! Tweet at us on Twitter and post on our Facebook page any Christmas-related stories or thoughts you may have. Your feedback is crucial to our being able to continue providing you with the absolutely best service available anywhere.

We sincerely hope you’ll be able to get together with those you love and that Santa brings you everything you want! From the whole ExpressTruckTax family to yours, we wish you the merriest of Christmases!

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

December HVUT Confusion

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December is a busy month here at ExpressTruckTax. Our support team answers a lot of questions from drivers who aren’t sure if they should be filing a Form 2290 for HVUT or not in December. We’d like to clear up this confusion for all of you. Hopefully, this blog will do the trick.

Who Needs to File Form 2290 in December?

Some drivers do need to file their 2290 this month:

Those who have acquired or purchased a new truck in November
  • First-used month is November
  • Need to file a new 2290 by December 31st (even if you already filed for the 2015-16 tax year)

Need to renew your registration by the 31st
  • Need a stamped Schedule 1 (proof of filing a 2290) to renew
  • Required before a renewal can be granted

In addition to the above scenarios, some drivers confuse the HVUT tax year (July 1 of one year to June 30 of the next year) with the income tax year (Jan 1 to Dec. 31 of each year). As a result, these drivers often wait until the end of the calendar year to file their 2290’s. If this is you, now’s the time to get current on your HVUT before the IRS’s e-file site maintenance that starts December 26th.

Does a 2290 Transfer from My Old Truck to a New One?

There are other drivers who purchase a new truck, sell their old one, and think that their 2290 will transfer from the old truck to the new one. This is a common question this time of year since new truck sales spike in December. The confusion here may be because the tax paid on the first truck can be applied as a credit to the new truck, but filing a new 2290 for each new truck purchased is required.

Filing your HVUT doesn’t have to be confusing. With ExpressTruckTax, you’ll know exactly when you need to file, so that you can enjoy your holiday season.


Our support team here at ExpressTruckTax is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to answer your questions and concerns about HVUT and Form 2290 via telephone at 704.234.6005. You can email us anytime at support@expresstrucktax.com.

Have a story about filing your 2290 this time of year? Post it on our Facebook page, or tweet it at us on Twitter. And let us know how we’re doing, so we can serve you even better.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

#Wellness Wednesday: Staying Healthy through the Holidays

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The holiday season is upon us and in full swing. This means plenty of opportunities to give, to make merry with family and friends, and, unfortunately, to overindulge and to fall off our healthy routine in general. Truckers in particular can feel a double whammy this time of year. The combination of holiday excesses and the usual struggles of staying healthy on the road can be particularly challenging. But don’t fear, Trucking Nation, because we’ve got plenty of tips and ideas to keep you on track and staying healthy this holiday season.

Just a Few Cookies….

Eating is perhaps the most difficult area to maintain balance this time of year. An overabundance of sweets and treats, as well as all the parties where food is often the focus, can derail the best healthy eating plans. Combine this with the lack of healthy food alternatives on the road, and the picture can become almost bleak for the conscientious eater.

The important thing to remember here is balance. Expecting yourself to stay super healthy this time of year is to invite frustration. Let yourself have a few treats, just don’t overdo it and get too far off track. Having a little flexibility in your eating routine can provide you with just the right amount of room for enjoying the delicious alternatives that are available this time of year.

Stress Less

Stress is another ever-present aspect of the holiday season. The constant rush of people around us, getting together with family, and paying for gifts can all combine with the constant pressures of the road to really get you in a big ball of stress. But by remembering your stress reduction techniques, such as meditation and relaxation, you can make this holiday season pleasurable and even exciting.

Move More

One of the best ways to reduce stress is exercise. We all know how hard it can be to stay active on the road, but by keeping your exercise routine this time of year you can keep yourself happy and healthy. Whether it’s a short walk around your rig or around a rest stop, or something more structured, a little bit of exercise can be a real key to a joyful holiday season.

Keeping yourself on your healthy lifestyle track during the holidays will keep you feeling good, and leave you with a few less resolutions to make this New Year’s Day.


We here at ExpressTruckTax love providing you with ideas that make your life easier, just like ExpressTruckTax simplifies your taxes and keeps your life running smoothly. You can reach us at 704.234.6005 for phone support and by email at support@expresstrucktax.com anytime.

We look forward to hearing about your successes with staying healthy during the holidays. You can post your stories on our Facebook page or tweet them at us on Twitter. Not only do we enjoying reading your posts and tweets, your feedback helps us to provide you with the best service possible.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

#TruckTechTuesday: Onboard Truck Computers

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Today’s trucks are sophisticated and state-of-the-art, much different from the simpler, older trucks they’ve grown out of. Not only do they contain the traditional engine and instrument panels, they employ modern computers that monitor and control many aspects of the truck’s performance.

The onboard computers used in most trucks today are multi-function machines much like their desktop cousins. Not only can they be used to monitor truck conditions and driver behavior, as older computers in trucks mainly did, today’s truck computers can be used to communicate between driver and back office, and even used by drivers to run applications and access the internet.

Electronic Driving Logs

Electronic driving logs are perhaps the most obvious application for these computers. These logs will become mandatory in all trucks by December 2017, according to a ruling by the U.S. Department of Transportation released December 10th. And significantly, a provision of this ruling states that these logs can not be used to harass drivers. This means that electronic logs can potentially be of benefit to both trucking companies and drivers, in that the companies will be able to track driver data, but drivers will be protected by the law from companies abusing the use of these logs.

Monitoring Engines

Onboard truck computers are also used to monitor truck engines and communicate data from the engine with either the driver, the back office, or both. The data can range from diagnostic trouble codes, to routine maintenance needed, to extreme conditions in the engine not caught by the codes. This can often mean the difference between a routine service stop and a blown engine.

Communications

Communications between the truck, driver, and the back office regarding other important information take place with the use of these computers as well. Some of these messages are in place of conversations that might normally occur over a cell phone. Since the screens for these onboard computers are often placed on the truck’s dashboard right in the driver’s view, using the computer for these communications can be much safer than cell phone exchanges.

Driver Use

A more recent feature of onboard truck computers is the ability to be used by drivers for 3rd party applications that might monitor other aspects of the truck. These computers are much like the desktop computer most people use, all the way down to internet access. This gives off-duty drivers a convenient way to surf the web, so that they won’t need to use up costly data on their cell phones.

ExpressTruckTax keeps you up to date on the latest in the trucking world, just like we make your life easier by simplifying your HVUT filing process. Contact us by phone at 704.234.6005 or by email any time at support@expresstrucktax.com.

We’re anxious to hear about your experiences with onboard computers. Tweet at us on Twitter or post on our Facebook page anything you think would be helpful for The Trucking Nation to know about onboard computers. Your input helps us to make sure we’re serving you the best we can.

Friendly Reminder:

Don’t forget the IRS’s e-filing system will be down for yearly maintenance from Dec 26th until some time during the 1st week in January (The IRS hasn’t specified the exact date the system will be back up yet). So if you’re using ExpressTruckTax to e-file and your Form 2290 needs to be in by December 31st, to be safe, you should e-file by December 23rd.

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Don't Get Scammed Getting Your EIN

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So you just found out you need an EIN (Employer Identification Number). Maybe you’ve just started a new business, or maybe you need one to file your HVUT. Whatever the reason, you need one, and need it fast. What do you do? There are a few ways to get an EIN, some of them legit, some pretty shady. Let’s take a look at those that are on the up-and-up, and how to spot the scams.

What to Look Out For

First of all, be aware that there are sites out there that give the impression of being part of the IRS, but in reality aren’t. The best way to tell if a site is an IRS affiliated site or not is the tellatale URL irs.gov. An IRS site will have this URL as its base, for example, irs.gov/forms. You can be sure if you see this URL, you are on an official IRS site.

Some websites will play on this and use the word “gov” or “irs” in their website name to give themselves an air of legitimacy. Some of these might be “suchandsuchgov.com,” or “irsexample.com.” If the domain suffix (such as “.com”) is not “.gov” you can be sure that site is not as U.S. Government site. Further, if the site doesn’t have the URL irs.gov as part of its domain name, it’s not an IRS site.

Another telltale sign that a website is not legit is if they charge an outrageous fee in order for you to get an EIN. Some of these websites will charge $200 or $300 or more for this service. In reality, the IRS does not charge a fee at all to those getting an EIN. You can always get your EIN for free from the IRS by filling out their online application.

Do I Have to Do This Myself?

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to apply for an EIN yourself, our sister website Truck Services of North America can secure an EIN for you at a reasonable fee. They’ll do the work for you, and you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you’re getting your EIN through a reputable, secure, IRS-approved website. You can contact them at support@tsnamerica.com, or call them at 803.386.0320.

And if you have any questions or concerns about ExpressTruckTax, feel free to call us at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expresstrucktax.com.

If you’d like to let us or The Trucking Nation know about your experiences with getting an EIN, tweet at us on Twitter, or post on our Facebook page. As always, your input and feedback are crucial to us providing you with the best service possible.

We don’t want you to pay any more than you need to getting your EIN. Now that you’re informed, you won’t have to.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

#WellnessWednesday: Meditation as Stress Relief

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It’s not news to you, Trucking Nation, but trucking is one of the most stressful professions out there. Deadlines, traffic, weather, all these factors can combine to make you one big ball of stress. But never fear, we have the perfect solution for you: meditation. (No, don’t try it while you’re driving.)

Meditation Basics

Of course, meditation is nothing new. Its practice dates back thousands of years. There does seem to be some resurgence in its popularity in recent years, especially in relation to the new interest in yoga. But you don’t have to be a yogi or even practice yoga in order to enjoy the benefits of meditation. It doesn’t cost you any money, and you don’t need any training or special equipment in order to meditate. You can do it right in your rig!

Most meditation practices incorporate some method of focusing the mind, whether on a single point, or some sort of idea or belief. In Eastern traditions, such as Buddhism, where meditation is thought to have originated, meditation is said to not have a goal per se, although its practice usually results in relaxation, inner peace, and an overall sense of well-being. And who can’t benefit from that?

Mindfulness Meditation

Perhaps the most popular form of meditation right now is mindfulness meditation. This involves focusing on your thoughts as they arise. The idea is to not judge your thoughts, and to focus only on the present. As you watch your thoughts pass, and let them go, you will begin to relax and to feel more at peace.

Focused Meditation

Focused meditation may be the most well-known form of meditation. This type of meditation is where you focus your mind on one point, whether it be a word or mantra, a candle flame, a single thought, or an image in your mind’s eye. Here the point is to discard all other thoughts except the solitary object of your focus, maintaining your concentration on that point. As you do so, relaxation and tranquility should start to occur.

Spiritual Meditation

If there is a form of meditation that is goal-oriented, it is spiritual meditation. This form of meditation has communing with God or something spiritual as its objective. It can be thought of as a type of prayer, or of focusing on spiritual things. Many practitioners of this type of meditation will have a particular question or problem to be solved by this method, and will meditate on the thought of that question or problem. Many report a feeling of safety or protection when practicing this form of meditation.

Benefits of Meditation

We’ve already introduced some ways that meditation benefits you, including relaxation, peace of mind, and a sense of well-being. There’s no doubt that all truckers can benefit from these effects of meditation. And without all that stress from the road, the driver can be happier and more peaceful.

Added Benefits

Lower Blood Pressure: Studies have shown that meditation can actually lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate. Being in a state of relaxation is really another way of lowering your stress, and when stress is reduced, many other health benefits occur as well. Some of these include improved gastrointestinal health and a boosting to the immune system.

Improved Mental State: Meditation also can improve your mental state as well. Being relaxed and serene will reduce the rush of anxious thoughts, and the ability to think more clearly and deliberately will result.

So, the next time you’ve got some down time, give it a try and see if your stress doesn’t just float away!


ExpressTruckTax also helps you relax and reduce your stress level. We take care of those difficult calculations for you, so you don’t have to worry about or stress out over your HVUT.

You can call us at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expresstrucktax.com. Our world-class support team is ready to answer any questions or concerns you may have in English and in Spanish.

Tweet at us on Twitter or post on our Facebook page how meditation has helped you, or even how you like to meditate. We love hearing from you, Trucking Nation! Remember, meditation is not what you think.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

#TruckTechTuesday: Self-driving Trucks

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Imagine a truck that drives itself. Sounds like the stuff of science fiction, right? It may be closer than you think. Several truck manufacturers are currently working to develop exactly this, a self-driving truck. A few already have working prototypes. Let’s take a look at these trucks.

How Semi-Autonomous Trucks Work

It’s helpful to be clear about what these things are and how they work. The industry name for self-driving trucks is autonomous trucks. In turn, those that require a driver for safe operation are called semi-autonomous trucks. These semi-autonomous trucks are the type that are furthest along in development.

Semi-autonomous trucks are controlled by a computer. The truck’s computer constantly monitors the truck’s behavior, communicating the data it finds with the driver and the back office. In some cases, the computer will adjust settings within the truck to compensate; other times the driver will need to make adjustments.

Note that these trucks need an experienced, qualified driver in order to safely operate. The greatest need for manual driving is in densely-populated cities, to maneuver around the quickly changing landscape of city streets. At other times, such as highway driving, these trucks are able to control themselves.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Semi-Autonomous Trucks

The most obvious advantage of semi-autonomous trucks is the operation cost savings. They predict accident rates will fall dramatically with these trucks, since there’s more precise control over the truck. Catastrophic breakdowns can be avoided since the computer will closely monitor the truck’s performance and maintenance needs. Self-driving trucks will also free up their drivers to do other things such as examining computer data, doing business-related tasks (like filing your HVUT!), and simply relaxing.

The main disadvantage to these trucks is cost. At present, and for the foreseeable future, semi-autonomous trucks will require a huge startup investment. Companies will need to closely examine cost savings and see how they compare with these startup costs.

Some drivers may fear that their jobs are being threatened by the new trucks. It is important to note only the autonomous trucks have no need for a driver, and the development and implementation of such trucks is a long, long way down the road. It’s also unclear at this time whether autonomous trucks are viable at all, as there is still a huge concern about the safety of a truck without a driver. So don’t worry, Trucking Nation, your jobs aren’t going anywhere!

Let us know your feelings about autonomous and semi-autonomous trucks by tweeting at us on Twitter, and posting on our Facebook page. Your comments really help us post topics that are most helpful and interesting to you. And your input also helps us to provide you with the absolute best service available.

You can reach us at 704.234.6005 or at support@expresstrucktax.com if you have any concerns or questions about ExpressTruckTax.

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Friday, December 4, 2015

IRS Blackout Returns!

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That’s right Trucking Nation, it’s back! The
dreaded IRS system blackout returns Saturday, December 26th. Every year the IRS shuts down its MEF (Modernized E-file System) at the year’s end for “maintenance.” They’ve said the blackout will end the first week in January but haven’t indicated an exact date yet.

What This Means for You

Ok, don’t panic. If you use ExpressTruckTax, we’ve got all the bases covered for you. You can still prepare your Form 2290 with us during the blackout. We’ll hold your form ready to be transmitted to the IRS as soon as the maintenance ends. The only difference is that you won’t be able to receive your stamped Schedule 1 until after the IRS resumes accepting returns. You’ll receive your Schedule 1 within minutes after the maintenance is over.

Another important thing to remember is that the IRS won’t be time-stamping e-filed returns during this period. So you’ll need to get your return in by December 26th in order for your return to be considered on time if you are required to file by the December 31st deadline for those with first-used months of November 2015.

So remember that we’ve got your backs, Trucking Nation. And if you’ve got any questions at all about the blackout, or even about ExpressTruckTax in general, don’t hesitate to call us at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expresstrucktax.com. We’re available to assist you in English and Spanish with any help you might need.

Hopefully now the blackout won’t catch you by surprise. ExpressTruckTax always keeps you up-to-date on all things truck tax. And it’s our pleasure to keep doing so.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

#TruckTechTuesday: Cell Phone Signal Boosters

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We all know how much you depend on your cell phones these days, Trucking Nation. From communicating with dispatchers, to getting GPS information, including up-to-the-minute traffic reports, these little technological wonders are in many ways your lifelines.

So when you have trouble getting signal or your signal’s weak, it can seem like the end of the world. Leave it to the wizards of technology to come up with a solution for this problem: cell phone signal boosters.

Stay Connected with Cell Phone Signal Boosters

Another marvel of technology, cell phone signal boosters replicate the signal from surrounding cell phone towers, and amplify, or strengthen, that signal over a relatively small area, such as the cab of your truck. Your cell phone is then able to receive that replicated signal as if it were coming from a cell tower.

An important factor to consider when choosing a signal booster is the strength of the amplifier, because this will determine how well the booster replicates the cell phone signal. This is especially important in mobile situations such as a truck. Since the cell signal will vary wildly depending on location, the stronger the amplifier the better for truckers.

Cell phone signal boosters provide a simple solution to what can be a major inconvenience.

We Make Things Easier Too

Like signal boosters, ExpressTruckTax is another secret weapon you can't leave home without. Luckily, we're also as mobile as you are, as you can always e-file from your smartphone or tablet. Whether it's the ExpressTruckTax mobile app or the Form 2290 Tax Calculator app, you can count on us to make filing HVUT, and life, go a little smoother.


And speaking of helping you out, you can contact us whenever you have questions or concerns about ExpressTruckTax. Call us at 704.234.6005 or email us anytime at support@expresstrucktax.com. Our world-class support team is available to assist you in English or Spanish.

You can always tweet us on Twitter or post on our Facebook page. Let us know how ExpressTruckTax has made your life easier. Thank you, Trucking Nation, for making us the leading Truck Tax solution. You’re the reason we do what we do.

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ExpressTruckTax Blog

E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.