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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

New Trucker Mistakes

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New Trucker Mistakes
New Trucker Mistakes
It’s no doubt that an influx of truckers enter the industry every year - it’s undeniable, the turnover rate in this industry can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, sometimes the system that feeds negativity into itself - new drivers hear disheartening information and carry this on their shoulders. After a while, the attitude can sour a driver.

Learning The Wrong Stuff From the Veterans


If you’re new, you need to learn the ropes from those that know them. Sure, school teaches you the rules, but putting these techniques into practice teaches you how they work in the practical sense. Someone who has backed their trailer in a thousand times can offer advice you may have missed.

As far as rookie drivers go, you should apply your learnings to the logic of seasoned drivers, picking up the safe and time-saving tricks and tips they offer. However, be sure to shrug off any unsafe shortcuts.

According to what one trucker told Business Insider, you’re getting ripped off if you’re less than 33 cents a mile.

If new drivers need to learn anything, it’s the livable rates they should earn for driving. Nobody wants to be ripped off, but the risk is high for truckers.

Just remember, if something is too good to sound true, it is!

Rushing Into It Without a Plan


It’s tempting to push through your training, ready for the actual job. But think about it - you don’t want to land a gig and find out that you are clueless! Sure, you will feel a little lost when you start a new job regardless, but you don’t want to leave your training without a clue!

Sure, you’re ready to drive - but make sure you’re not desperate. Desperation can lead new truckers to do reckless things, and that’s the last thing we need.

According to some seasoned drivers, new drivers are so green that they don’t understand that leasing trucks come with a significant cost of maintenance and overhead. When young drivers end up in this situation, they can have very little to show for it.

If you’re spending $900 a week on your truck, and find yourself barely able to afford ramen noodles, you need to rethink what you’re doing here!

Perpetuating the attitude, when you get started at your new company, you were introduced to a grizzled, older trucker who seems unphased by your presence. He probably doesn’t care about you - that you knew from the moment he grumbled something under his breath and walked off.

Don’t be that guy. I mean, everybody has bad days - that’s unavoidable. But you don’t want to be the one who perpetuates the poor attitude trope. You don’t have to be pure sunshine, but communicating in a likable fashion allows you to build relationships as you progress in your field.

Ask questions, be honest with your coworkers, and win them over with competence and openness. What you bring with your positivity will help you as an earner, and provide an example for other truckers.

With the right attitude, you’ll even avoid driver burnout.

Getting Burned Out


Some people get into trucking as a temporary way to earn some cash until they figure out their next venture. That’s fine! But If you want to last in this industry, you need to take care of yourself and keep a nice environment.

Taking care of yourself means a few different things. First, whether you’re an owner-operator or a company driver, if you drive local or OTR, you should go out of your way to work (and possibly live) in a nice, clean truck.

Other burnout prevention methods just happen to cross paths with health and hygiene tips, surprisingly. If you want to keep a sound mental state, find ways you can relax in your downtime.

Don’t get too relaxed, though! You should also find ways to improve your food and fitness routines!

One of the worst mistakes you can make is not e-filing your Form 2290 when the deadline rolls around - or when you purchase a new truck.

With ExpressTruckTax, e-filing HVUT is not only easy, it’s fast, safe, and supported by a great U.S.-based customer satisfaction team. E-file with us and we’ll answer any and all questions you may have.

So for all of our new truckers, let this be your year to be the best trucker ever!

Related Blog: 3 Reasons You're Not Cut out to Be a Trucker


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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Buying a New (To You) Semi-Truck

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Buying a New (To You) Semi-Truck
Buying a New (To You) Semi-Truck
Buying a new vehicle is a hassle. Whether you’re buying a sedan for the family, or that hot rod you’ve always dreamt of, you’re gonna face some kind of trouble.

But what about when you want to buy a new semi-truck?

Choosing Your Truck


Your first determination will be, do you want a new truck or a used truck? In order to figure that out, you need to think about what you will be doing with your truck. Unfortunately, new trucks run between $80,000 and $150,000. With all the bells and whistles out there, you could sit right near $200,000.

Of course, getting a new truck usually means you’re getting a warranty, too. That will offset costly repairs, at least!

If you’re running local freight and one day jobs, getting your hands on a used semi-truck could be a better option.

Whichever option you pursue, you need to figure out your margins and set a budget. This should not only include what you can afford to buy, but it should also factor in what your fuel, maintenance, and insurance costs will be with said truck.


Related Blog: HVUT Credits: Selling & Purchasing Vehicles

How Do You Pay For It?


That’s the most important question, isn’t it? There are basically two payment routes you can take when it comes to purchasing your truck - financing and outright purchasing.

We’ll have to break this down into two categories: Why you should seek out financing, and why you shouldn’t.

If you own a trucking business, some of the costs of the vehicle and the depreciation can be deducted from your taxes - make sure you keep detailed records. However, on the plus side, many loans don’t require an initial payment, so there’s

However, there are some disadvantages to financing your truck. First, if your loan payments are high, you’re gonna feel it in your wallet. On top of that, you’re still responsible for your own truck maintenance, including parts! Plus, the truck isn’t technically yours until you’re done paying it off.

After all of that, some financiers will only supply financing if you already own multiple trucks, making this harder for single truck owner-operators!

If You Go Used, Get Inspected


While buying a used truck might be the most affordable option for you, you need to make sure you’re not throwing money into a lemon.

So when you buy a used vehicle, make sure you get the truck thoroughly inspected.

While they may swear the truck works great, and you may know your way under the hood of a truck, getting an independent mechanic to inspect the vehicle can save you in the long run.

It might cost you around $100 now, but if it saves you thousands in repairs down the road, where’s the loss?

When you get an inspection, the key points you want to have examined are axle configuration, truck horsepower and capacity, engine condition, brake systems, cab condition, and the maintenance logs.

If all clears, you found yourself a good investment!

Once you have your new truck on the road, you’re going to need to e-file Form 2290. Head to ExpressTruckTax and sign up for a free account - you won’t have to pay until you transmit your heavy vehicle use tax!


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Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Ways to Survive Truck Driving School

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Every year, tons of hopeful truckers enroll in schools and programs to get their CDL's. As with any training program, the work is tough, and you get out of it what you put in. But how can you make sure you survive the whole process? Let’s run through this!

Start Early


So once you’ve been accepted and enrolled into a program, you need to hit the ground running. Find out what books and training materials you need as soon as possible, and start reviewing.

Review everything. It’ll be tough, but you will understand more of what you’re learning later. Learn the definitions of words, or at least familiarize yourself with them.

Also, look into some online communities and learn what you can from there. Whether that’s lingo, or survival tips, you can find plenty in forums, social media, and blogs!

Study Hard


Oh, nobody wants to hear it. You need to study hard. Yeah, you’re going to spend a lot of time learning all this in your classes, but you’re gonna have to put in a ton of time and study hard.

Think about it, not everybody passes their CDL right away. You want to become a trucker, so you’re going to need to get through your training and learn as much as possible.

You don’t want to be a rookie trucker forever, do you? Or worse, a CDL dropout?

Start Sleeping Well


This is a tough one. You might not know this, but sleep is crucial for success, health, and happiness. While you might imagine a gruff, short-tempered trucker as the standard cut of the cloth, that isn’t actually the case.

But plenty of truckers out there have sleep problems from the lifestyle. Of course, this leads to risks. Without sleep, you can find yourself with a grumpy disposition, impaired immunity system, and unable to concentrate.

That’s why you need at least eight hours of sleep, which is even more important once you’re a truck driver. So start doing everything you can to improve your sleep schedule!

Start Being Healthy


When you’re learning the ins and outs of your CDL, you should also spend some of your time off implementing healthy habits that will stick with you in the cab.

Start with your fitness by creating a good workout routine that will stick with you. Learn how to use your environment and your own body, or find mobile fitness tools and routines you can take with you.

We’ve given you fitness advice before, but we’re also big proponents of healthy eating. Ask any trucker about food on the road, and you’ll find out that truck stops are full of convenience foods — not health food.

Now, we’re not saying you need to eat kale chips every day (they’re good, I swear!), but you should do what you can to eat plenty of fresh veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Your diet will affect your disposition as much as sleep and fitness, so start eating right!

Of course, there are other problem areas for truckers — like perpetual back injuries from sitting all day, for example. You will need to watch your health as a trucker, bottom line.

Plan Ahead


Our first bit of advice is to start setting personal goals beyond getting your CDL. All things considered, you will put in the hard work and it’ll pay off with a CDL, and hopefully a trucking job!

But then you will have to decide what kind of job you want to have, where you want to be based out of, and all sorts of other considerations.

While you’re still in school, figure out what you like about driving a truck, learn about company drivers as compared to owner operators, and connect with other students.

No matter what you do, getting your CDL is hard work. With all the hard work you put in, you’ll be a truck driver before you know it. Once you’re a trucker, we’ll be ready to help you e-file Form 2290 right here at ExpressTruckTax!


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Thursday, November 10, 2016

You have a New EIN? You Might Need Form 8849!

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You have a New EIN? You Might Need Form 8849!
You have a New EIN? You Might Need Form 8849!
So you finally did it - you took the plunge and became an LLC, allowing yourself more business protection and earning yourself a new EIN.

Unfortunately, this leads to many unforeseen complications. For example, how do you go about e-filing your 2290's for your trucks now? Are you just going to go ahead and file anyway?

Unfortunately, you can’t assume everything will be A-OK - you just fundamentally changed how your business is handled by the IRS, and so you will need to account for this with your trucks.

IRS Form 8849


While some people think it’s best to file wait for the new tax period and file Form 2290 when you change your business status, there is another option. You can also file Form 8849, the Claim for Refund of Excise Taxes.

If you’ve sold a vehicle recently and you had already filed Form 2290 Return, you would need to file Form 8849, Schedule 6 in order to claim your credit.

You also need to use Form 8849 if your vehicle was stolen, destroyed, or if Form 2290 was paid and the vehicle was used 5,000 miles or less on public highways (7,500 or less for agricultural vehicles) during the tax period.

New EIN Complications


So what do you do when you become an LLC, and you all of the sudden realize your trucks are still tied to your old EIN?

Once your business name or EIN has changed, then you need to file a new 2290 form and get a prorated refund for the taxes paid under the previous name or EIN. Just e-file a new Form 2290 for all vehicles under this new name or EIN, then e-file a Form 8849 under the old name or EIN to get some of your original filing back.

A lot of our users don’t realize they have to go through this entire process, which is why we’re here laying this out for you!

How Do You File Form 8849?


If your new EIN requires you to file an 8849, you will need your name and address, making sure it is an accurate match to what the IRS has on file.

You will also need your old EIN number, and any other pertinent business details for your old “business.” Finally, you will need the vehicle information you are claiming a refund for.

If you are filing because the vehicle was sold/stolen/destroyed, you will need the date the event occurred.

How Can You File?


Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to e-file Form 8849 - you just have to sign in to ExpressTruckTax, select Start New Return, and then choose Form 8849 Schedule 6.






Then you just follow the step-by-step process to e-file Form 8849, just like you did with Form 2290.

If you have any questions about e-filing Form 8849, you can contact us at 704.234.6005.


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ExpressTruckTax Blog

E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.