Telematics simplifies tax compliance for fuel fleets


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Anyone who has had to track their business trips for mileage reimbursement can understand the challenges facing interstate commercial carriers.

When their commercial vehicles pass through more than one of the 48 states and 10 Canadian provinces that are members of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), the fleet must submit a quarterly report that includes kilometers traveled, fuel purchased and taxes paid in each jurisdiction. This is done to ensure that each jurisdiction receives its fair share of the fuel taxes paid, based on the distance traveled by the vehicle in that jurisdiction.

As one can imagine, this has been a chore for interstate commercial carriers. Traditionally, they have tracked purchased fuel by collecting fuel refill receipts and tracked kilometers driven by writing them down in paper journals. Fleet managers then consolidated this information into a paper summary or into a spreadsheet for quarterly ranking.

“Keeping paper files requires careful organization with record keeping for years in the event of an audit” Scott Sutarik, Vice President of Commercial Vehicle Solutions at Geotab, told PYMNTS in an email interview. “The possible loss of paper files is not uncommon, especially with refueling receipts. It is a large business and continues to manage fleet records through paper records.

Digitization of the compliance process

Today, digitization may offer an alternative. With fuel cards, software and telematics, fleets can automate much of the compliance process.

For example, Geotab offers the Geotab GO telematics device which records GPS and odometer data at frequent intervals. The company also offers its MyGeotab fleet management software, which provides access to IFTA solutions and tools. Together with the data from the telematics device and the fuel maps of the fleet, this generates the necessary reports.

“The IFTA report aggregates distance by jurisdiction by vehicle and also allows for integration with refueling,” said Sutarik. “The report has specialized logic to process the large amount of data generated by devices during each day.”

He added that with telematics capturing the daily trips of each vehicle and the time spent in each jurisdiction, drivers are freed from this task and the data is more accurate.

With the platform integrating data from telematics and fuel cards, the generation of an IFTA is automated and can be sent to a third party to produce the completed tax forms. In addition, digitization eliminates the problems that arise when relying on paper documents: missing documents, data entry errors, late declarations, overpayments or audits.

Integration of a complete platform

Accurate reporting is important. Fleets are required to obtain a permit from IFTA for qualifying motor vehicles that travel in more than one IFTA member territory. To verify compliance and ensure that the correct tax is paid, each IFTA member jurisdiction is required to verify 3% of their licenses annually.

In addition to IFTA, the MyGeotab platform helps with other compliance requirements of fleets, such as the Electronic Recording Device (ELD) mandate, which requires many commercial vehicles to use a device that records time. and other data, and Hours of Service (HOS), which regulates the number of hours truckers can drive and work.

“IFTA is seen as an important part of fleet compliance, in addition to the ELD mandate and [HOS] management, all of which are considered mandatory processes in many fleets, ”Sutarik said. “By integrating a comprehensive telematics platform, users are able to streamline their compliance management processes, including HOS, ELD and IFTA, to ensure they deliver accurate information without compromising time spent on the road. . “

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