Audits for anything are scary, especially IFTA audits. The idea that you have to go through mounds of paperwork, and eventually panic if you can’t find exactly what you need, is terrifying. But relax, here at ExpressTruckTax, we’re all about making this process loads easier.
That’s why we’ve got 7 tips on what to do to in order to avoid an IFTA audit.
How to Avoid an IFTA Audit
The first step in avoiding an IFTA audit is to keep detailed trip sheets. You need to make certain your trip sheets have continuity from the very beginning of your trip to the end. Every single jurisdiction should be included on your trip sheet, so you don’t lose track of any important information.
Avoid submitting trip sheets with non-continuous jurisdictions. Trust us, IFTA auditors know that your truck cannot simply materialize in Florida when you started in Colorado.
Mileage is another big one when it comes to avoiding IFTA audits. You should be recording all mileage on your trip sheets as well as personal and non-taxable mileage.
Avoid forgetting to record your end-of-day miles to any restaurants or lodging. If you don’t record these miles, then you risk creating a gap in mileage, that’s when your end of day location doesn’t match your beginning of day location.
Everything you record needs to be exact. You need to record exact fuel use and exact mileage (even non-taxable mileage). Because eventually, you will use those numbers to calculate your MPG each quarter. And one small slip up could resist in a massive oops.
And you definitely want to avoid calculating your fuel use by dividing your mileage by the set MPG. Since your MPG is based on road conditions, you need to keep an eye on it. Because it will fluctuate. So make sure you’re recording that number correctly, or you risk paying too much for your IFTA.
Watch your MPG
As we previously stated, your MPG is based on a variety of road conditions. That means this number can fluctuate from quarter to quarter. So make sure you’re faithfully recording that number, because in the end, you’ll have better records for it. And better records means you’re on the right path to avoiding an audit!
Your MPG should be above 5 and below 10. If you find that your MPG is outside of this range, then it’s likely you’ve made an error in recordkeeping somewhere along the way. In most States, your IFTA will not be accepted unless your MPG falls within 5-10 MPG.
If you learn one thing from us, it’s that you need to document everything. That means, if you keep precise trip sheets you can avoid any errors in recordkeeping, as well as an audit. So make sure you don’t get lazy with your documentation!
Make sure you file your IFTA on-time, year-after-year. This shows that you’re being responsible, and know what needs to be done. If you need some help with this process, ExpressIFTA can definitely make calculating your mileage and what you owe in fuel taxes a lot easier than doing it on paper.
That way, you don’t have to wait until the last minute to file, dreading the idea of all that tax math. Not to mention, waiting to file instead of doing it earlier can lead to you making mistakes. And this will, of course, lead to an audit. So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to sit down and do your IFTA right!
Audits may seem scary, but they’re not the end of the world. If you’re selected for an audit, just remain calm and cooperate. Original documentation for the past 12 quarters should be kept in your base jurisdiction for the auditor to access.
Make sure you don’t avoid the auditor’s phone calls, shred your documents, or do anything drastic. Especially considering that IFTA auditors can keep coming after you with no statute of limitations. And the less you cooperate, the worse the penalties will be. You could even lose your IFTA license.
If you have any questions or need any help preparing your quarterly IFTA, our dedicated support legends are here for you. Just give them a call during our new extended business hours from 8AM to 8PM at 704.234.6005 or shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for 24/hour support in English and Spanish.
Don’t wait and risk making a mistake, file your IFTA today.
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