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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Don't Make These Mistakes When Buying a New Truck

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We made it through winter, and Spring is upon us. Goodbye dangerous, icy roads!

And not only are plants springing up from the ground, but truckers are thinking, “Hey, why don’t I get rid of my old rig and buy a new one?”

And we’re right there with you, Trucking Nation. Sometimes it’s better to just say goodbye to that old truck and hit the road on something shiny and new (to you, at least).

But beware, there are mistakes you can make when you purchase a new vehicle!

So we’ve thrown together a few tips to help you avoid those new truck-buying mistakes.


Don't Blow Your Budget

Factor in how you are using the truck, your distance traveled, and even what you will be hauling. The last thing you want is to drop all your cash on a beast of a truck and discover that you’re not even using it right.

And we know you don’t want to buy something that can barely haul an empty flatbed. So list out your truck requirements AND your expected uses on a sheet of paper, on your phone, or anywhere you can keep track.

From this list, create a BUDGET. Allow yourself time to look over it and figure out what you want to buy.

And don’t go into any purchase blind! Calculate the costs you’ll incur for the purchase, as well as your insurance, taxes, and all the accoutrement (that’s French for extra stuff).

You should probably aim your budget forward, too. You’ll need to factor in your cost of maintenance so that you don’t break the bank a few months down the road.

Don't Pick a Lemon

While we say find something within your budget, make sure you also appeal to your better creature comforts.

You’re gonna be stuck in this rig on the road for who knows how long, so make sure you can live comfortably in the thing. Check the amenities, so that you don’t end up in a truck that is hard to live in.

We don’t know if you co-drive or bring pets with you, but factor in your comfort level, your partner’s, and your pet’s.

Don't Bungle Your Taxes

Sometimes it sounds like we’re beating a dead horse, but we have to say it. No matter what, your 2290s don’t transfer!

That means you need to file for a new 2290 when you get that new truck. We’ve come across plenty of truckers who either don’t know this or think it doesn’t apply to them. It does!

And it’s an easy fix, too. You just need to e-file Form 8849 and claim a credit and you’re good!

Don't Settle

There’s nothing worse than buyer’s remorse. Don’t settle for a new rig that doesn’t meet the quality standards you know you need. I mean a deal is a deal, but make sure you’re happy with it at the end of the day.

And don’t forget, there’s an IFTA deadline on May 2nd! Head over to ExpressIFTA for the easiest way to generate your fuel tax report.

As always, if you have any questions about e-filing your HVUT 2290s or generating your upcoming IFTA report, give us a call at 704.234.6005.

Bought a new truck recently? Share it with us on Facebook and Twitter!



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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Movie Star Truckers: Big Rigs on the Silver Screen

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With all the crazy stuff you see on the road, sometimes it feels like you’re in a movie. Heck, we even know of a few movie star truckers.


We’re taking a similar page today and looking at some fictional truckers (heck, a spaceship and a anthropomorphic robot truck as well).


Furiosa and the War Rig

The world might be nuked to a crisp, but transportation goes on! Well, at least we know there’s one trucker still at it in George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Equipped with a well-armed War Rig, Furiosa sets out on a refueling mission-turned-human-trafficking rescue mission and shows us what Post-Apocalyptic trucking looks like.


Maximum Overdrive

When some bad space juju passes over Earth, machines come to life. One of those is a Green Goblin-masked 18-wheeler that is just happy to flatten a few pedestrians in Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive.


Over the Top

In Over the Top, Sylvester Stallone plays a struggling trucker who arm wrestles to make some extra cash. Really a tale of father-son bonding, this movie ends with an epic arm-wrestling match that determines everything.


Every Which Way But Loose

Alright, you got Dirty Harry and an orangutan named Clyde in an 18-wheeler, what’s not to like? Every Which Way But Loose stars Clint Eastwood as a trucker making side cash as a bare-knuckle fighter. Panned by critics, it still turned in $85 million over a $5 million budget, so I’m sure both Eastwood and the Orangutan had little to worry about.


Optimus Prime

Come on, you knew we were going to mention Optimus Prime! He’s the leader of the Transformers, and is LITERALLY a big rig. Starting as a Kenworth K100 cab over truck, Optimus has most recently appeared as both a modified Peterbilt 379 and a custom built Western Star. Talk about your upgrades!


Millennium Falcon

Okay, okay—this is a spaceship and not a tractor trailer—we admit it. But when you think about it, Han and Chewie haul freight, they hate the government, and there’s a whole weird co-driving situation they worked out already. Sounds like space truckers to me!


We’re not sure if orangutans can file fuel taxes, or if Optimus Prime gets offended when you call him a heavy vehicle. But we do know that we have some upcoming deadlines! There is an IFTA deadline on May 2nd, and an HVUT 2290 deadline on August 31st.


If you have any trouble, call our dedicated support team at 704.234.6005, or shoot them an email at Support@ExpressTruckTax.com.

Who is your favorite fictional trucker?


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Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's Not Too Late! Claim Your Free Tickets to MATS

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Kentucky is one heck of a state! Between the horse racing, rolling fields of grass, and the bourbon trail—it really is something else. But there’s something even better that takes place in Louisville, Kentucky.

Every year, truckers, fleet owners, and other transportation professionals unite in Louisville for the Mid-America Trucking Show.

We're Going to the Mid-America Trucking Show

For 45 years, the Mid-America Trucking Show has brought professionals from all over the nation to Louisville, Kentucky.

More importantly, the ExpressTruckTax crew will be headed to the Mid-America Trucking Show soon!

That’s right, your favorite HVUT e-filing group will be hanging out, giving out gifts, and networking with our current and future customers!

When Will We Be at MATS?

You can find us at Booth 66121 from March 31st-April 2nd, 2016.

Stop by and say hey to us! Oh, you don’t have tickets? If only there was a way for you to get into MATS for FREE...


How Can You Get Free Tickets to the Trucking Show?

Thanks to the crew over at TruckLogics, we’re offering free tickets while supplies last! You can also call us at 704.234.6005 to request your free tickets.

So what are we offering to our guests at the Mid-America Trucking Show?

First of all, the TruckLogics team will be joining us and offering a free demo of their custom designed transportation professional software. As the premier trucking management solution, TruckLogics lets you create and dispatch loads, manage multi-user accounts, and dispatch LTL freight with a few clicks. Check them out today, or stop by our booth for more information!

We’ll also be running a contest to win an Insignia TV! Sounds pretty good to me.

So come on out and meet us at MATS, you won’t regret it.

As always, our dedicated customer support team is ready to respond to any questions you have about e-filing your HVUT 2290s and IFTA 1st Quarter reporting, as well as requests for MATS tickets.

You can reach us by phone at 704.234.6005, by email at Support@ExpressTruckTax.com, and live chat by our website.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

4 Legs and 18 Wheels: Truckers With Pets

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We’re always talking about trucker health, but we’ve missed one key factor that can help your well being.

Get a pet! Cat or dog, doesn’t matter—having a furry friend in your cab can have major benefits.

Okay, we know that truck cabs are a tight fit, but with so many different pet breeds and temperaments, there has to be something that can fit your lifestyle.

Whatever pet you choose, just make sure they don’t take the wheel!



The Benefits of Pets

Why a pet? Well, studies have illuminated this for us. One study found a reduction in minor health problems after the subjects acquired a cat or a dog. On top of that, dog owners get considerably more exercise thanks to the constant need for walks.

Now, we’re not saying not having a dog or a cat will hurt you—we’re just saying there are some benefits. Plus, you won’t be lonely anymore if your four legged friend is chilling out with you every day.

For example, numerous studies have found that just owning or petting a dog can lower your blood pressure.

Well how should you get a dog? We’re big proponents of adopting from shelters and pet rescues around here, since it’s usually more affordable and you’re saving a life!

Tips for a Happy & Healthy Co-Pilot

What’s next? Make sure you pet proof your rig! While your new pet is getting accustomed to the rig, block access to your clutch and brakes. You can lighten up once they are familiar with your truck.

Make sure your pets can’t hide under seats or in other dangerous areas.

Keep your medicine, food, and trash secure and away from a curious pet. Both cats and dogs can dig their way into some trash, so keep an eye out for it.

Make sure you have adequate water, food, and medicine (if necessary) for your pets. Dogs are pretty good about not using the bathroom where they sleep, so keep an eye out for clues they need to go.

Safety First for Your Pets

Also, pets living in trucks will get used to certain noises—like rumbling engines and horns—so make sure you keep them leashed while outside. The last thing you want is a truckstop funeral for your dog!

Finally, never leave your pet unattended in a rig, especially in extreme weather conditions! If you do have to in an emergency, make sure it’s only for a few minutes and that the truck is at a decent, comfortable temperature.

Until your dog learns how to e-file your HVUT 2290s, we know you’ll need us around. We’re here to answer any of your questions about e-filing, VIN corrections, and 2290 amendments.

Our dedicated customer support team can be reached by live chat on our website, by phone at 704.234.6005, and by email at support@ExpressTruckTax.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Do you keep a cat or a dog with you in the cab? Let us know about your fuzzy co-driver in the comments!


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Thursday, March 17, 2016

5 Deadly & Dangerous Trucker Routes in America

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In this field, worrying about reckless driving is a constant concern. But sometimes it’s not just careless four-wheelers you need to watch out for. Sometimes, the road itself is the dangerous part. In these scenarios, instead of dodging risky drivers, your attention is focused on the dangers of your environment. At least you’ll be focused if you’re on these roads!




The Million Dollar Highway / Colorado
Located on U.S. Route 550 in Colorado, the Million Dollar Highway takes you through the Red Mountain Pass into the San Juan Mountains. Riding at 11,000 feet above sea level, you are faced with a winding road without guardrails and shoulders, so drivers need to keep their wits about them. Why the lack of guardrails? Well, when snow piles up, they need to remove it somehow. That’s right, it goes right off the edge of the road and down the mountains!




Interstate 10 / Arizona
Sure, Interstate 10 runs the entire length of the United States, but the portion that starts in Phoenix and runs to the California border is a step above the rest. While the population of the area is low, the death toll remains relatively high in comparison. And this sparsely populated desert means any hospital or emergency service coming to help you has a ways to go before they can arrive.




James Dalton Highway / Alaska
You knew we were headed to Alaska eventually—I mean, what’s more dangerous than ice road trucking? With Dalton Highway’s 414-mile dirt road stretch, supplying the local oil and gas businesses is no easy task. Also known as the haul road, this route takes truckers through the mountains of the Brooks Range, where it once fell to -80 degrees Fahrenheit, the lowest temperature ever recorded in U.S.! Now, there are occasional helicopter patrols looking out for vehicles piling up, but that does little to decrease the dangers of Dalton. While the road was designed for rigs, four-wheelers can pass through it, but not many auto rental companies will allow tourists to try—so at least we have that assurance.




Interstate 26 / South Carolina
Nothing like a little southern hospitality to keep you safe on the road, right? That counts for most of the South, but the little stretch between Interstates 26 and 95 is a magnet for auto accidents. Maybe it’s the endless trees lining either side of the road, or the steep shoulders, but many a car careen off the tarmac and into the ditches. Maybe it’s the speeding four-wheelers, or the lack of guardrails, but this road has a well-deserved reputation!




Routes 1 & 11 / Maine
Hitting a deer can scratch, ding, or dent any vehicle. But what happens when you hit a moose? Yeah, we’re gonna let you Google that on your own free time. But on both Routes 1 and 11 up in Maine, there can be a moose at any turn! With the hilly terrain, faded road signs, sharp curves, and devastating winters—Maine supplies any driver with enough danger to keep the blood pressure spiking. But hey, somebody has to transport that freight there.


Whatever takes you on these roads, keep in mind that you have a few tax deadlines that would be dangerous to miss. Your personal taxes are due by April 18th, and your IFTA deadline is April 30th. We’re still a few months away from your HVUT 2290’s deadline, but we’ll be here for you then.


If you have any questions about your deadlines, we’re available by phone at 704.234.6005. Our dedicated and friendly customer support team is looking forward to your call!

What’s the most dangerous journey you’ve made in your rig? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!



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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

VIN Corrections 101: Fixing Your 2290s

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So you filed Form 2290 and received your Stamped Schedule 1, but now you’ve discovered you used  the wrong vehicle identification number. What do you do?

Don’t worry, mistakes happen in the realm of tax filings, which is why we have 2290 Amendments. Let’s be real, your VIN is a scramble of 17 alphanumeric characters—sometimes you might hit the wrong key. And trust us, we’ve seen a few 5’s that look like the letter S more than once on a VIN. To err is human!

If you filed your heavy vehicle use tax with ExpressTruckTax, you can e-file a VIN correction FREE of charge. Since your original filing was with us, we think we can help you out. And if you used another service or paper filed your 2290, you can also e-file a VIN correction for a small fee.

How does it work? Well, VIN corrections can be only filed for taxable or suspended vehicles, not for credit vehicles or prior year suspended vehicles. When you file a VIN correction for Form 2290, you can't combine it with credits claimed on the same form. Also, the wrong VIN must have been paid for in the original form 2290. Otherwise, the IRS will assign penalties in addition to the actual tax.

How do you e-file your VIN correction? After logging in to ExpressTruckTax, click Start New Return and you’ll be prompted with three options. From there, you need to select Form 2290 Amendments.





After that, you are prompted to choose between a VIN Correction, a Taxable Gross Weight Increase, and Mileage Exceeded. Underneath VIN Correction, click Start.






From that point on, your options split between previous filers and new customers. If you filed your 2290 with us before, this is where you can e-file your VIN correction for free!







After that, it’s only a matter of entering the incorrect VIN and updating it to the correct VIN. For a more detailed explanation, check out this video!




So don’t forget, if you filed with ExpressTruckTax, you can e-file a VIN correction with no strings attached. Now, we do need your credit card information for verification purposes, but the service itself is free. After you correct your VIN, you will get your corrected Schedule 1 in minutes. Don’t forget, if you didn’t file your HVUT with us, you can still pay for a VIN correction.

If for any reason you have any questions about e-filing your VIN correction, our friendly customer support team can help you out! Reach us by phone at 704.234.6005, email at support@ExpressTruckTax.com, or live chat with us on our website!


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Thursday, March 10, 2016

5 Trucker Trends to Watch

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We’re rolling into spring, leaving winter behind, and it feels good. Right now, there’s nothing on your mind—you’re just enjoying the open road. But a voice in the back of your head says, “Hey, what are you missing? You gotta be missing something!”
So just in case, we’re bringing you an update on the latest happenings in our neck of the woods. Here are some news items and events that affect you as a trucker over the upcoming months.

FMCSA Considering Sleep Apnea Rule

The FMCSA announced that they are seeking feedback about sleep apnea in commercial vehicle drivers as an initial move towards a ruling on the condition. Basically, the rule could mean transportation workers in safety sensitive positions who exhibit multiple risk factors for sleep apnea would undergo evaluation and treatment by a healthcare professional with expertise in sleep disorders.

Are you going to MATS? See ya there!

In case you missed it on social media, we’re headed to the Mid-America Trucking Show March 31st - April 2nd! We’ll be giving out FREE tickets to the show, which you can claim here. Keep an eye out for cool prizes and the inside scoop on the latest ExpressTruckTax and TruckLogics developments.

What is Alice Isn’t Dead?

There’s a new podcast shooting to the top of the iTunes charts—and it’s about a trucker! Alice Isn’t Dead follows a truck driver on a quest to find her wife, who was presumed dead. Along the way, the trucker meets unsavory characters, ghost towns, and uncovers a dark conspiracy.

Are you ready to file your Personal Taxes?

Don’t forget, Trucking Nation, your personal taxes are due Monday, April 18th. If you’re not ready to file, head over to ExpressExtension to e-file a personal tax extension! Normally, your tax deadline would be April 15th, but that is Emancipation Day, which will be celebrated as a government holiday in Washington, D.C. So, the tax deadline was moved to Monday. (Hey, it gives you more time!) And that’s okay with us. By the way, make sure you don’t miss out on any trucker specific deductions.

There’s an IFTA Deadline, and there’s a HVUT Deadline

Don’t forget, deadlines are approaching! The 1st Quarter of IFTA ends in March, so you’ll have a payment due in April. And summer is almost here, so your 2290s are only months away. Get a head start now!

There’s always something happening in the trucking world. Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest transportation news. Start planning your finances and truck taxes now, and we’ll see you at MATS later this month!

Don’t forget, our dedicated customer support team is here to answer any of your HVUT 2290 filing questions! You can reach them by phone at 704.234.6005, live chat via our website, or email at support@expresstrucktax.com.



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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

File Like an Expert: Tax Deductions for Truckers

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Would you head out on the road without any idea where you’re going? I didn’t think so. So why would you head into tax season without a plan?

Your truck isn’t just a vehicle, it’s also a place of business. It makes sense that you would qualify for multiple tax deductions for your truck use.

So let’s look at some money saving secrets you can implement on your tax return. Whether you’re a company driver or an owner-operator, there could be a deduction in your future. Basically, your deductions should be for items that help you complete your driving job.


So What Can I Deduct?

Well what are some items that can be deducted? Cleaning supplies, office supplies, and miscellaneous supplies all count. As long as the supplies help you run and maintain your business, you can claim them.

But it doesn’t stop there! Electronics equipment like your CB radio, power boosters, GPS units (including map updates) can be counted as deductions. Tractor supplies like bunk heaters, coolers, de-icers, and window screens are all fine for deductions, too.

Really, you can apply this to a lot of items that come into use. Bungee cords, load chains, locks, and wide load flags are all vital load securement tools that are required for your work. Tools like electrical tape, tire irons, and flashlights can count, too. Safety clothing like gloves, boots, and thermals can be a necessity for the job.

Your personal hygiene is a vital part of your job, so that can even factor into your deductions! Whether you’re going to a tax professional or working with a family member familiar with tax code, make sure you go over every possible deduction at hand.

I Have a Lot of Deductions… I Need More Time!

Instead of worrying about filing time, head over to ExpressExtension and e-file for an automatic tax extension. With personal extension Form 4868, you can extend your personal filing deadline to October 17th. If you’re a fleet owner, there are plenty of options for you at ExpressExtension. You can e-file business extension Form 7004 and extend your deadline up to 6 months. And if you need more time to file 1099s, W-2s, and ACA Form 1094/1095, e-file Form 8809 with ExpressExtension for a 30 day extension!

When it comes time to file your taxes, professional help is best. And when it comes time to file your HVUT 2290s, call our dedicated, bilingual customer service team at 704.234.6005. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with upcoming tax deadlines and the latest trucking news.

What are some other trucking expenses you could claim as tax deductions?


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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sold a Vehicle? This Is How You Get Credit

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So you bought a new truck this year, and you sold your old one. We know you love riding around in that brand new shiny rig—I mean, who wouldn’t?

But the ghost of your old truck is still hanging around, haunting you at every turn. All that time and money you spent, gone. Oh wait, that’s not a ghost, that’s just the old heavy vehicle use tax you paid before you sold that truck. Can you get that back?

Sure, in a sense—you can claim a credit with ExpressTruckTax. How do you go about claiming credit for a sold vehicle? Just e-file Form 8849, Claim for Refund of Excise Taxes!

What is Form 8849?

If you filed Form 2290 on a vehicle you’ve since sold, filing Form 8849 Schedule 6 will get you credit for the sold vehicle. If your truck was stolen, or destroyed, or maybe you didn’t realize it was exempt, you can file Form 8849.

What do you need for Form 8849?

Anybody who needs to claim a refund can claim it with Form 8849. Remember, you need to have already paid your heavy vehicle use taxes before selling the vehicle to qualify. First, you need your correct name and address. Next, you need your EIN and the vehicle information you are claiming a refund for. Since you are filing because the vehicle was sold/stolen/destroyed, you will need the date the event occurred.



Say it in English

Well, when you sell a vehicle that already has the HVUT paid, the vehicle is covered until the end of the month of purchase. From then on, it’s up to the new owner to pay the vehicle’s HVUT. But as the seller, you simply need to e-file Form 8849 to claim your credit.

Remember to remind the buyer that heavy vehicle use taxes DO NOT transfer from one owner to another. They’re required to file Form 2290 and pay taxes on any qualifying rig.

Basically, as a seller you can be credited for the taxes you paid before you sold the vehicle, and the buyer owes the difference. As 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. If you’re reading this, something tells me you want your credit now!

If you’re confused, our legendary customer support team is here to answer your questions. Remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the latest trucking news and upcoming deadlines!


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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quick Tips to Reduce Trucker Stress

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When you’re on the road, things can get pretty stressful. You’ve got crazed four-wheelers darting around your rig, dispatchers asking you to bend some rules, and some upcoming tax forms you’ve been avoiding. You can’t get rid of all those stressful factors, but you can find creative outlets to help you reduce how they affect you.

Stress happens for different reasons, and there are an assortment of ways to combat it. Here are a few tips we suggest.

Reduce Stressful Paperwork

Want to ditch the stress of tax filing? Well, just e-file your HVUT 2290s with ExpressTruckTax! We’re known as the easiest way to e-file your heavy vehicle use taxes, and we pride ourselves on our helpful customer support team. Best of all, after filing with us you will get your Stamped Schedule 1 within minutes! That way you can get back on the road.

Eat. Sleep. Lift.

Alright, alright. You’re tired of us hammering this point home. But we’re gonna stick with it, because your health is important! In short, you need to sleep more, eat better, and exercise regularly.

Does it sound like we’re constantly telling you to sleep more? Well, we are! Sleep recharges your body and helps you sort things out in your life. When you get more sleep, you’re going to be a more alert, safer driver. Your moods will also be more positive as a whole. And we’re not saying you’re eating unhealthy, but most truckers have a reputation for eating some bad foods. The solution? Avoid fast food and junk food and eat healthy foods! And of course, find time to exercise. You can store away weights or use your resources.


Stay on Time with Reminders

Tired of deadlines looming over your head? With RigMinders, you simply download the free app and let it run its course. As deadlines approach, RigMinders will remind you so that you don’t fall behind and get smacked with late penalties. The last thing you want is to pay a late fine, right?


Reduce Stress with a Hobby

You’re all over the country, seeing more of the United States than most people ever will. If you’re looking for a good hobby to help you relieve stress, try photography! Come on, you come across all those open skies and lonely roads—perfect for a camera lens. Not much of the visual artist type? Perhaps you could bring a guitar and try your hand at a good old fashion traveling song.

You already know how to stay entertained with your phone, tablet, and laptop computer. But not many truckers know that using these tools for stress relief is another great option! By using these same gadgets, you can connect to loved ones back home, run truck management software like TruckLogics, maintain a truck driving YouTube channel, or even educate yourself with free online courses.

And if you ever get stressed filing, reach out to our dedicated, bilingual support team! We’re available by phone at 704.234.6005, email at support@expresstrucktax.com, and by live chat on our website!

How do you reduce stress while on the road? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook!


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ExpressTruckTax Blog

E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.