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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Here Comes the IFTA 4th Quarter Deadline

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Alright Trucking Nation, while we normally talk about your heavy vehicle use tax, we’re gonna shift gears to fuel reporting! That’s right, it’s time we talk about the 4th Quarter IFTA deadline.

About that deadline… since January 31st falls on a Sunday, that shifts the 4th Quarter IFTA reporting to the next business day – Monday, February 1st.

Can I Report IFTA from ExpressTruckTax?

Yes and no. While we’re geared towards filing 2290s, ExpressIFTA was specifically designed to simplify fuel tax reporting. Programmed by the same team that brought you ExpressTruckTax, you can expect the same ease of use when you use ExpressIFTA. You can even use the same login credentials as you do for ExpressTruckTax!

What will you need for IFTA reporting? You’ll need your IFTA license, basic business details, base jurisdiction, and truck information. From there, you add your total miles traveled and fuel purchased during the 4th Quarter. Instead of dealing with difficult manual calculations and pen and paper, our software streamlines the process. And best of all, you won’t have to pay until you generate your return!

What Kind of Features Can I Expect from ExpressIFTA?

Well, you can calculate your fuel tax reports by trip sheets, or even by uploading GPS data. You can also report by distance traveled or by odometer totals. If you have trip sheets available, you can upload those for even easier calculations!

With ExpressIFTA, you can manage multiple drivers, vehicles, and businesses under one account. And we’ll even check your entries for minor errors on our end before your return is generated. Basically, we’ve made the software so easy, you’ll be done in no time.




After this deadline, your next major IFTA deadline will be May 2nd. Want to keep up with upcoming due dates? Check out RigMinders, the trucking deadline reminder app, or look into a full tax management service like Truck Services of North America so you can hand off your reporting to a dedicated agent.

And as always, we’ll be here to answer your questions at 704.234.6005, or by email at support@expresstrucktax.com. We even support live chat from our website!

Are you ready for the 4th Quarter IFTA deadline? Let us know in the comments!


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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fitness Tips for Truckers

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You hear it all the time – trucking is an unhealthy career choice. Sure, staples like all-you-can-eat buffets, truck stop junk food, and long hours planted in a seat give the job a bad reputation. But let’s be real, the trucking life is what you make of it. And honestly, it’s up to us in Trucking Nation to turn the tide on OTR health.


Think about it, you take the time to care for your rig, deliver your loads on time, and file your HVUT and IFTA returns. In the same way, you need to care for your health. We’ve talked about yoga and healthy eating before, but we know some of you want the high intensity release of weight training and cardio to balance out all that sitting time.


Some truckers might go with a national gym chain membership, but that limits your access depending on your route and location. Have some downtime coming up? Look for hotels with fitness centers and you can get in a nice, solid workout before hitting the road again. For Owner-Operators on the long haul with a sleeper cab, you can prepare for a fitness routine by bringing your own equipment and knowing some fitness routines.

Store Small Equipment in Your Truck


We know it’s a tight fit in plenty of cabs, but there are some compact and portable fitness options for your OTR lifestyle.
  • Weights: Keep some smaller weights in your cab. You don’t want to add a ton to your tare weight, but a couple of dumbbells for strength training inside your cab is a great start.
  • Resistance: Resistance bands are a great alternative for hauling weights. With different tension levels, you can knock out a killer workout without taking up much space in the cab.
  • Jump Rope: Hey, if Rocky Balboa could jump rope and look cool, so can you! If you’re already storing resistance bands or bungee cords, toss a jump rope into the mix. Plus, it’s a really effective way to burn the calories of an 8-minute mile without running one.
  • Cycling: We’ve even heard of some truckers storing bikes behind their cabs, which is a great way to stay fit while on the road. Plus, you can get around on a bicycle without having to drive the rig anywhere.

Train Anywhere With Bodyweight and Cardio


While storing equipment works for some, there are several alternatives to hauling a portable gym with you. If you are looking for a high intensity routine geared towards building muscle, consider body weight training. By using your own weight as your resistance, you can get a great workout anywhere for free!
  • Bodyweight Squats: Need an intense bodybuilding without an entire gym? Try bodyweight squats! With your legs and thighs inactive throughout the day, squats are a great way to increase muscles and keep your body active.
  • Push-ups: Everybody knows the push-up. You might even hate the push-up, but you can’t deny the effectiveness. Push-ups work your arms, chest, and shoulders. If you’re looking for a key workout, find space to knock out some push-ups. 
  • Burpees: For an exhausting, yet satisfying burn, try burpees. With a burpee, you get both strength training and aerobics. You’ll feel the burn mostly in your quadriceps, but you’ll also feel it in your chest, calves, and hamstrings. 
  • Cardio: Of course, keeping your heart rate and body active after a long haul is important for the trucking lifestyle. With a solid cardio routine, you’ll improve your heart and overall health. We already mentioned cycling, but there are plenty of body-only cardio workouts that will help you out between hauls. 

Use Your Resources

If you don’t have any equipment on hand, you can still start a fitness routine. Take advantage of your resources until you get the proper gear for your routine. 
  • Repurpose: For weight training, try using milk and water jugs as weights. Just keep the containers empty until you get to a stop, then fill them with water. They’re also a great way to stay hydrated after a workout!
  • Straps: If you’re interested in resistance training, repurpose bungee cords or flatbed tarp straps as resistance bands. 
  • Loading: For some truckers, just loading and unloading can give a great workout. I mean, if you’re lifting boxes day in and day out, it makes sense. Just make sure to follow proper lifting techniques, so you don’t injure your back in the process.

At the end of the day, your health is in your hands. Watching what you eat and implementing an exercise routine will make the difference between a long healthy career or future health complications.

And when you’re keeping up with your rig’s tax forms, ExpressTruckTax will be here to assist you with any HVUT matters. Reach us by phone at 704.234.6005, email at support@expresstrucktax.com, or live chat via our website.




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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

1099s & W-2s for Truckers

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Should your drivers receive a 1099 or a W-2 form? That’s the question for a lot of truckers and fleets this time of year. And while we tend to focus on 2290s around here, understanding the personal taxes of a trucker can make a huge difference for both companies and drivers.

Fleets: Do Truckers Need 1099s or W-2s?filing W2 Form online

Well, let’s get right down to it here – there are a lot of mixed emotions out there over what tax classification drivers belong to. I mean, misclassification continues to be a subject of contention for both companies and drivers.


So how should your fleet approach classification? When you bring on a new driver, you should determine if they’re a full-time employee or an independent contractor from the start. Depending on their status, you’ll either need to send your drivers a W-2 or 1099 come tax time. 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 day one. Sure, some fleets might be tempted to put the burden of taxes on a company driver and send them 1099, but that route can only be traveled with specific conditions geared towards independent contractors.


Basically, treating a full-time employee as an independent contractor will just lead the IRS to your doorstep. And let’s face it, the IRS will come for their money one way or another! Might as well keep your filing legitimate and make things easy on your crew.


Truckers: Independent Contractor or Company Driver?

When you get right down to it, your status as an employee needs to be determined before you’re hired. There are specific guidelines from the IRS on contractors who receive 1099s, and you owe it to yourself to know your status.


It all comes down to how you work – 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. Now, if you are an independent contractor (like a co-driver), you are probably used to the 1099 routine. We know it can take a while to get your returns straightened out, so we suggest e-filing a tax extension.


Okay, But How Can I Get W-2s and 1099s?

With employee status already established, all you have to do is file for the proper tax form. Now if you’ve used ExpressTruckTax before, you know we like our tax software fast and easy-to-use. That’s why we suggest you check out ExpressIRSForms for your 1099s and W2 forms. Designed by the makers of ExpressTruckTax, ExpressIRSForms is perfect for any sized company in need of W2 forms and 1099s. With postal mailing, bulk upload, and multiple users, your fleet’s IRS forms will be filed in no time. Not only that, but if you need to get a trucker’s EIN for 1099, they even offer free e-signing for Form W-9! You can also enjoy the same level of customer support you’ve come to expect from ExpressTruckTax.

Visit https://www.expressirsforms.com/w2-form-online/ to know more about filing W2 Form online.

Speaking of tax forms, larger fleets with over 50 full-time employees count as Applicable Large Employers, which means they need to file for Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) compliance. The good thing about ExpressIRSForms is that they also offer e-filing for Forms 1094 & 1095. You could say they’re kind of a one-stop shop for all your IRS tax forms!


If you have questions about 2290s and tax forms, contact our US-based support team by phone at 704.234.6005, email at support@expresstrucktax.com, and live chat at our website.



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Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Driving Tips for Truckers

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We’ve all seen it – you’re headed down a snowy highway and there’s a rig jackknifed into a ditch, clearly underestimating the dangers of an icy road. We talk a lot about filing your 2290s around here at ExpressTruckTax, but sometimes we need to talk safety.

Specifically, winter safety! If you’re new to the Trucking Nation, we suggest you winterize your rig this season. I mean, your route might take you all over the country, even into Canada – so it’s best you prepare for icy roads. While seasoned truckers may have their own routine, it never hurts to have a refresher.

Driving Dangers


While you’re on an icy road, make sure you approach driving with caution! Sure, we could probably write a book on roadside safety for the winter, but we decided to boil it down to a few key points.


  • Go slow! While your freight is important, your life matters most. You might think a road is good to go, but you won’t know if you’ve hit black ice until it is too late. Take it slow, at least until you know the roads are clear.
  • Top off your fuel tanks for extra weight. Not only will the extra weight help slow you down and give you more friction on the icy roads, but you never know when fuel will be hard to come by during a winter storm.
  • Tail lights can be deceiving. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles! If you’re tailing another truck’s lights for guidance, you might follow a vehicle off the road. On the same note, your lights might confuse other drivers during low visibility. Keep your distance!
  • Don’t pull over to the shoulder if visibility is low. Oncoming traffic might mistake your rig for an off ramp, a side road, or they might fail to see you altogether. Make it to a truck stop or a motel, instead.
  • Follow brake standards. Braking a rig always takes expertise, but make sure you approach it with extra care during a winter storm. Also, remember that Jake brakes are designed for dry roads – it’s best not to ride them on the ice.
  • Choose CB over Sirius. During winter storms, it’s best to keep your CB radio on and turn the satellite radio off. Sometimes we get into the habit of listening to music or talk radio, but it’s safer to stay in communication with your fellow drivers during dangerous conditions.



Preparation is Key


Before you head out, take time to prepare your rig for the colder months. Stock up on winter supplies, and inspect your rig! While you’ve hauled plenty of loads by now, take a look at your truck with fresh eyes. Check to see if your lights are in working order, look for accumulated ice, and have a plan for de-icing your truck. And don’t forget to check for low tire pressure. Not only will under-inflated tires decrease your fuel efficiency, but they also reduce road control as well!

After you winterize your truck, stock up on supplies!

  • As the cold sets in, it’s best to have plenty of warm clothing, insulated socks, and top quality boots. It’s better to have extras than to go without! 
  • Consider bringing extra blankets, or even a sleeping bag for the cold nights ahead. 
  • Make sure you have some nonperishable food on hand, since restaurants and stores might close down or become hard to reach. It’s not a bad idea to have mixed nuts, dried fruit, jerky, and an extra water supply stashed away for emergencies. 
  • And don’t forget to keep your phone fully charged, or carry a backup phone charger/spare battery. The last thing you want is to lose contact during an emergency! 


At the end of the day, you know your truck and the roads better than anyone else. Use your best judgement, and if it’s too bad out there, DON’T BE A HERO! Nobody will hold it against you for taking the safe route.


While we can’t thaw the roads ourselves, we’re here if you need help e-filing your 2290s. If you have questions about filing your HVUT, our US-based support team is available to assist you by phone at 704.234.6005, by email at support@expresstrucktax.com, and by live chat at our website.



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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

HVUT Credits: Selling & Purchasing Vehicles

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We’re a few weeks into 2016, and by this point you might have grown your fleet with a used (or new to you) truck. Or maybe you’re an Owner-Operator who is replacing an old vehicle. I mean, it looks like some sleeper trucks are just getting cheaper and cheaper. While you’re excited to be on the road in the new rig, it’s vital that you have your HVUT accounted for. With ExpressTruckTax, adding a credit for sold vehicles to your 2290 is easy.

How Do HVUT Credits Work?

When a vehicle is purchased from another owner who already paid their HVUT fees, the vehicle is covered until the end of the month of purchase. From the first day of the following month, it’s up to the new owner to pay the vehicle’s HVUT from the first day of that month to the end of the tax year.


With that said, it’s important to understand that the heavy vehicle use taxes DO NOT transfer from one owner to another. You’re required to file a Form 2290 and pay taxes on any qualifying taxable vehicle. The taxes also don’t transfer from your old vehicle to your new one! So if you sold your old truck after buying a new one, it’s the same process (just with the roles reversed). It’s annoying, sure, but you still have to do it.


Basically, the seller gets credited for the taxes they paid before they sold the vehicle, and the buyer owes the difference. And if you’re a seller, there are two ways to approach the credit. You can get the credit for the tax paid on your next Form 2290 filed or the refund can be claimed through Form 8849, if you don’t want to wait until the tax period ends.

Why don’t we just see how it’s done real quick?



What Are the Tax Implications When Buying or Selling a Suspended Vehicle?

Well, suspended vehicles come with a specific set of tax implications regarding their sale. If you sell a vehicle under suspension, you need to provide the following information:

  • Your name, address, and EIN,
  • VIN Number,
  • Date of the sale,
  • Odometer reading at the beginning of the period,
  • Odometer reading at the time of sale, and
  • Buyer's name, address, and EIN.

If everything is reported like above and the use of the vehicle exceeds the mileage use limit for the period after the purchase (including highway mileage recorded by the former owner), the new owner would be liable for the tax on the vehicle. If the former owner didn’t provide the required statement to the new owner, then the former owner would be held liable for that tax period.

With your new rig ready for the road, you can get back out there to the long haul. Don’t forget, after you pay your HVUT for this tax period, you’ll still be liable to pay for the new period that starts July 1st, 2016!

If you run into any questions about credits on ExpressTruckTax, our US-based bilingual support team is available through phone, email, and even live chat. Reach us by phone at 704.234.6005, or by email at support@expresstrucktax.com.



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Monday, January 18, 2016

Celebrity Trucking: Famous People Who Used to Drive Trucks

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You ever wonder if that driver you’re passing is gonna be the next Elvis Presley? Okay, maybe not -- but the King of Rock used to be king of the road. Before going on Christmas Vacation, Griswold patriarch Chevy Chase was also once a truck driver. So maybe you knew those -- but what other stars used to live the trucking life?


A Particular Set of Skills


Not only has Taken star Liam Neeson played a Jedi Knight and a Batman villain, he was once a member of the Trucking Nation. Before making a name for himself on the screen, Neeson drove a truck and operated forklifts for the Guinness brewery. Turns out his resume is as varied as his acting abilities!



Soldier, Trucker, Actor


You may know Charles Bronson from film classics like The Magnificent Seven and the Death Wish series, but he too spent time behind the wheel. Drafted into the Army in 1943, Bronson drove trucks for the Air Corps before becoming a tail gunner on a B-29 bomber.

Hasta La Vista, Baby


While on the road, one trucker found his true calling after watching Star Wars. Director James Cameron quit the trucking business and went on to become one of the biggest filmmakers in history -- whose film Avatar was only recently de-throned as highest grossing domestic release by the latest Star Wars picture. Do you think his fascination with blowing up trucks in his movies is some kind of therapy?

Trucked by an Angel


After driving a cab, future gospel singer and Touched by an Angel actress Della Reese sought more money as a truck driver. Reese’s route had her hauling produce from Toledo to Detroit a few times a week. While she went on to become a household name, Reese enjoyed trucking, and especially liked that she never had to load or unload her truck!

From Stardom to Trucking


On the other hand, how many celebs decided the trucking life is for them? Once a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, retired player Roy Williams now runs his own fleet, RDUB Trucking out of Odessa, TX. While it’s not the retirement he envisioned -- his company now operates with 14 vehicles. Not a bad retirement plan if you ask me!

But whether you’re going to be the next Elvis, writing the next summer blockbuster, or starting your own fleet -- you have to keep up with your 2290’s. So you're not as famous as Liam Neeson, but we'll still help you file your 2290 at ExpressTruckTax. And if you're a fleet owner like Roy Williams, check out ExpressIRSForms for W-2s and Obamacare Forms 1094 & 1095.

If you have questions, our US-based support team is available through phone, email, and even live chat. We'll assist you any way that we can by phone at 704.234.6005, or by email at support@expresstrucktax.com.
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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Here Comes the IFTA 4th Quarter Deadline

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Yes, it’s that time again, Trucking Nation. The 4th quarter of 2015 has been wrapped up for a couple of weeks now and the January 31st deadline for filing 4th quarter IFTA returns is fast approaching. Luckily, we’ve got you covered! Filing your IFTA return is quick and easy using ExpressIFTA.

Just log in to ExpressIFTA, and all you’ll need to prepare your IFTA return is your mileage and fuel purchases. There are a few different ways to enter this information.

Enter Mileage and Fuel Totals Easily

You can enter these items manually with the Quick Entries feature. Just type in each entry and you’re done. Or if you’ve been saving all your totals in an Excel spreadsheet, ExpressIFTA has a cool feature that allows you to upload your spreadsheet and that information will automatically be entered into the appropriate fields.

There’s also the Trip Sheets feature. If you’ve been entering your information into Trip Sheets all along, you’ll be able to just upload the mileage and fuel totals from the sheets, and that’s it! You’re ready to generate your return!

Your ExpressTruckTax Account is Your Ticket to ExpressIFTA

You can log in to ExpressIFTA right from your ExpressTruckTax account with your email and password. All your personal and truck information from your ExpressTruckTax account will automatically populate the necessary fields.

There’s no need to look up and figure out complicated IFTA tax rates with ExpressIFTA, since that’s all automatically done for you too. With all the time and energy you save using ExpressIFTA, who knows what you’ll be able to do, probably something you’ve been really wanting to do!

So don’t forget the January 31st filing deadline. Now’s a great time to file with ExpressIFTA and get it out of the way.


If you have any questions or concerns, regarding IFTA or any other aspect of ExpressTruckTax, don’t hesitate to call us at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expresstrucktax.com.

And you can always join the conversation over on our Facebook page or Twitter. Let us know about your experiences with IFTA, or anything else trucking related you think the rest of the Trucking Nation would like to know.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

#TruckTechTuesday: What's Available in Trucker Apps

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Smartphone apps are everywhere, and on truckers’ phones the story is no different. The wide array of
apps available for truck drivers certainly makes your lives easier, and like so many other tools, free you up to do things you really want to do. Let’s have a look at some of the more popular trucker apps out there and what they can do for you.

Allstays Truck Stops and Travel Plazas

This very popular app has been around since 2003, and shows not only what truck stops and travel plazas are near you (or in a certain location), but gives all kinds of details about those truck stops and allows you to filter a search by a specific detail. And it gives you information about road conditions, weigh stations, rest areas, and more.

AroundMe

This app shows you all kinds of businesses and amenities that are near your present location. You can search by category and also pull up information about each item shown. It shows your position on a map and the location of each business relative to you.

Waze

You can see accidents, police traps, and other hazards that have been shared by other drivers with this community-based navigation and traffic app. You can also share information with the app’s community about what you see or encounter on the road.

Beat the Traffic

Gives you real-time information about traffic, incidents, and the best route for you based on where you are and where you’d like to go.

MyDAT Trucker

Originally started as Dial-A-Truck (hence the name DAT), this app also details truck stops, hotels, diesel prices, etc. In addition, it shows information on loads that are near you using the DAT Load Monitor Network.

Trucker Path

This app is very popular and similar to MyDat Trucker, but really has two apps, one for on the road information, such as truck stops, parking, rest areas, and weigh stations, and another app that’s still in testing for accessing carriers and loads available.

RigMinders

RigMinders is a free customizable app that allows you to set up reminders for the trucking industry’s many tax filing, permit, and registration deadlines, as well as any other reminders you’d like to set up for yourself or your trucking business.

This is just a small representation of the many apps available for truckers today. As you can see, there’s a wealth of information, as well as tools, available to you whenever you need it. With the world at your fingertips, you can keep a step ahead of the competition.

Contact us here at ExpressTruckTax by phone at 704.234.6005, and by email at support@expresstrucktax.com. We’re available over the phone Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, and any time via email.

Join the conversation on our Facebook page, and tweet with us on Twitter. A healthy give and take with you allows us to continue to provide you with the best service available anywhere.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

The End is in Sight! IRS Blackout End Date Announced

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As we told you last month, the IRS’s e-file system went down for maintenance December 26th. At that time, we didn’t know when the blackout would end. Well, cue the celebrations! We now know that the e-file system is scheduled to be back up January 9th. So the end is now in sight, and it’s even sooner than we anticipated.

Getting Your Stamped Schedule 1

If you’ve prepared your return with us during this time, your Form 2290 will be automatically transmitted to the IRS January 9th. And if you haven’t prepared your 2290 with us yet, once the e-file system is back up, you will be able to e-file as normal. In any case, you will receive your stamped Schedule 1 from us within minutes of our e-filing your return.

ExpressTruckTax is always right there for you with all the details on truck taxes and the IRS. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered, Trucking Nation!


If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us at 704.234.6005 or at support@expresstrucktax.com. We’re available to answer your calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, and anytime by email.

And don’t forget to join the conversation on our Facebook page and on Twitter. You can tell us about your experiences with the blackout, with ExpressTruckTax, or anything trucking related. By giving us your feedback, we’re better able to provide you with the absolute best in service that you’ve come to expect from ExpressTruckTax.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#WellnessWednesday: 10 Tips to Keep Colds and Flu Away

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It’s that time of year, Trucking Nation. Yes, we know the holidays are over, but cold and flu season is well under way! We also know that you don’t need any extra down time, so we’ve gathered several tips on how to keep those cold and flu viruses from taking up residence in you.

Consider these ideas as preventative maintenance for your body. Some are common sense—others might not seem so obvious at first. All will keep you healthy and feeling good.

  1. Frequent hand washing. Your hands are magnets for germs, and germs carry viruses. Consider all the things you touch every day that others also touch. You can easily see how germs can end up on your hands. And since you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth, where most viruses enter the body many times every day, keeping your hands clean is essential for keeping those viruses from infecting you.
  2. Keeping surfaces clean. As we just said, there are many places that others touch every day that you also touch. By keeping doorknobs, sink handles and knobs, keyboards, etc. as clean as possible, you can minimize the number of germs that you come into contact with each day.
  3. Avoiding touching public surfaces. Avoid those areas in public that either you can’t or aren’t practical to clean. Places like card pads in stores, pens, and again, doorknobs, just to name a few, can be loaded with germs. For those times you can’t avoid touching such surfaces, carrying hand sanitizer can keep the germs you come into contact with during the day to a minimum.
  4. Stop biting your nails. Believe it or not, germs love to hide under your nails. Biting them allows them to enter you body more quickly.
  5. Exercise. Regular exercise boosts your immune system, and your immune system is what fights those germs that you weren’t able to avoid.
  6. Hydrate. Your body thrives on water, and a strong body means a strong immune system. 
  7. Get enough sleep. Making sure you’re getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night is yet another way to keep your immune system strong.
  8. Eat Healthy. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and lean meat will also keep your immune system at its best.
  9. Use a humidifier. Germs thrive in dry air. Keeping the air around you humid will minimize the germs in your environment, and also keep your body’s airways from drying out, thereby keeping germs from invading your body.
  10. Get a flu shot. When all else fails, a flu shot may be your last line of defense. Many insurance plans pay for them, and you can get immunized against the flu at most pharmacies.
These tips are not meant to be exhaustive. There are many other ways to keep yourself healthy and cold and flu-free this winter. Keep yourself informed, and most of all, stay healthy!


Our support team is available if you have any questions or concerns about ExpressTruckTax. Call us at 704.234.6005 or email us at support@expresstrucktax.com.

Join the conversation on our Facebook page and on Twitter! Let us know how you’re doing the cold and flu season, and if you have any tips we’ve missed for staying healthy this time of year.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

#TruckTechTuesday: Cell Phone Tips for Truckers

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Cell phones are everywhere. We’ve come to rely upon them, and expect ours to be available whenever we need it. For truckers, however, the cell phone picture can be quite contradictory. While you need your phones to communicate with dispatchers and get directions, among other things, your cell phone use is often tightly restricted.

Most importantly, there are specific regulations regarding cell phone use while operating a commercial motor vehicle. Essentially, truckers must only use a hands-free phone that is in close proximity while driving, and texting at any time behind the wheel is not allowed.

This being said, you still need to be able to use your phone, whether at a truck or rest stop, or just while parked. And cell phone costs can make up a significant part of any trucker’s budget. The savvy trucker can keep these costs to a minimum with a little research.

Avoid High Roaming Fees

Roaming fees can add up quickly. If your runs take you across the country, it’s worth it to pay a little extra for a plan with a company that has a wide reach so that you avoid roaming fees. Also, be sure that your cell phone company doesn’t charge connection fees when using other companies’ towers; some companies will do this under the name of “free roaming.”

Coverage Can Make or Break You

Coverage is another important consideration when choosing a wireless plan if you drive in a wide area. The important thing about coverage is keeping spots without coverage on your plan to a minimum. The last thing you need is to be stranded in an area without cell phone signal when you have important business to take care of. Many truckers agree that Verizon and AT&T have the best coverage available in the U.S.

Keep the Data Flowing

Also, how much data your plan provides may come into play for you, especially if you stream any type of video in your down time. GPS use on your phone can also eat up data. It may be worth the added expense to have a large amount or unlimited data on your plan, since data overages can add up quickly.

These are just some ways that you can get the most out of your cell phone dollar. By knowing the ins and outs of OTR cell phone use, your cell phone can be more about what you’re getting rather than what you’re giving.


Our ExpressTruckTax support team is available to answer any questions or concerns you may have over the phone at 704.234.6005, and any time by email at support@expresstrucktax.com.

And don’t forget to join the conversation on our Facebook page, and on Twitter. You can post about your experience with cell phones on the road, or Tweet about any tips or tricks you might have that would help The Trucking Nation with their cell phone needs.

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E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.