Why You Need an IFTA/IRP Point Man

IFTA point man

You can hire a service bureau to shoulder the work that comes with fuel tax and vehicle registration, but it’s a mistake to think that your responsibility ends there.

A service bureau can stay on top of government policies and procedures, but it’s not involved in your day-to-day business. It’s counting on you to tell it where you run, the distances you travel, what you haul, how many trucks you have, and how those things might change as your company evolves.

If you work with a service bureau and want to reduce the risk of dropped balls and pointed fingers, here are two things every fleet can do:

 Make one person accountable

At small companies, responsibility for tax and licensing often falls to the owner or his or her spouse. At medium-sized firms, usually it’s an accountant. Big companies typically have a dedicated tax and licensing department.

Regardless, one person should be assigned the task of managing IFTA and IRP, even if all he or she does is round up information, make sure it’s accurate, get it organized, and send it along to a tax pro at a service bureau.

 Define the responsibilities

The next step is to make sure that whoever manages your IFTA and IRP compliance understands the job and is prepared to do it.

Download and read your home jurisdiction’s IFTA and IRP procedures manual and make sure your record keeping system meets all the requirements.

Seek out training. The organizations that oversee IFTA and IRP offer workshops, webinars, and other opportunities to learn about these programs. Many state and provincial trucking associations do as well. So do we, of course: sign up for our “30 in 30”program and see if your records and process would pass an IFTA audit.

Most fleets think they’re handling IFTA and IRP compliance correctly, but aren’t. Their in-house staff or small service bureaus address 50% to 80% of their compliance needs, leaving risky and costly gaps.

It’s easy to forget that with all the benefits of IFTA and IRP come very real obligations for keeping records (and serious consequences for failing to do so). It’s a big that’s worth the time and training necessary to it properly.

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