International Fuel Tax Agreement(IFTA) - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who qualifies for an IFTA license?
  2. Why should I register for IFTA?
  3. Is there an alternative to IFTA registration?
  4. What is a "Qualified Motor Vehicle" under IFTA?
  5. Where can I travel using IFTA Credentials?
  6. Which taxes does IFTA cover?
  7. Which fuels does IFTA cover?
  8. What are the fuel tax rates for IFTA jurisdictions?
  9. Should I register for IFTA in California?
  10. How do I apply for a California IFTA license?
  11. What fees must I pay under IFTA?
  12. What credentials will I receive?
  13. What is the cost of a temporary permit and for how long is it valid?
  14. What if I need to travel before I receive my credentials?
  15. Where can I purchase California Fuel Trip Permits?
  16. Are there penalties for traveling without valid IFTA credentials or a fuel trip permit?
  17. When are IFTA returns due?
  18. Do I file a quarterly fuel tax return if I didn't run during the quarter?
  19. What is the penalty and interest rate for filing a late quarterly fuel tax return?
  20. How do I obtain a return?
  21. How do I amend or correct a previously filed return?
  22. Are there any exemptions for off-road use or other unusual uses?
  23. What records will I need?
  24. My IFTA License expires December 31, but I've heard there is an extension until the last day of February. Is this true?
  25. Why has my IFTA license been revoked?

  1. Who qualifies for an IFTA license?

    You qualify for an IFTA license if you operate your qualified motor vehicle in California and any other U.S. state or Canadian province that is a member of the International Fuel Tax Agreement. To qualify, your vehicle must meet the following weight requirements:

    A vehicle used or designed to transport people or property is a qualified motor vehicle if it:

    • Has three or more axles; or
    • Has two axles and a gross vehicle or registered gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms; or
    • Is used in a combination that has a combined or registered gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms.

    A recreational vehicle such as a motor home or a pickup with a camper is not considered a qualified motor vehicle when an individual uses it exclusively for personal pleasure. Vehicles used in connection with a business operation are not considered recreational.

    If you operate a diesel powered qualified motor vehicle whose interstate travel is restricted to Mexico and California you do not qualify for an IFTA license. However, you would qualify for the Interstate User Diesel Fuel Tax (DI) License.

    If you operate a qualified motor vehicle whose travel is restricted to California only, you are not required to hold an IFTA or DI license.

  2. Why should I register for IFTA?

    IFTA offers several advantages to interstate motor carriers who operate in two or more member states or provinces. Under IFTA, you will:

    • Choose one IFTA-member state or province as a "base jurisdiction",
    • Obtain a single fuel tax license for all of your qualified motor vehicles, authorizing them to travel in all IFTA jurisdictions; and
    • File only one tax return each quarter with your base jurisdiction, reporting your fuel usage and mileage for all IFTA member states and provinces.
    • Your fuel tax records will generally be audited only by your base jurisdiction.

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  3. Is there an alternative to IFTA registration?

    If you qualify for IFTA but do not choose to register, you must obtain fuel trip permits to travel into or through each member jurisdiction. You will be required to purchase a California Fuel Trip Permit every time you reenter California after traveling outside the state.

    Carriers traveling in non-IFTA jurisdictions must continue to comply with the fuel tax reporting requirements of those jurisdictions.

  4. What is a "Qualified Motor Vehicle" under IFTA?

    A vehicle used or designed to transport people or property is a qualified motor vehicle if it:

    • Has three or more axles; or
    • Has two axles and a gross vehicle or registered gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms; or
    • Is used in a combination that has a combined or registered gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms.

    A recreational vehicle such as a motor home or a pickup with a camper is not considered a qualified motor vehicle when an individual uses it exclusively for personal pleasure. Vehicles used in connection with a business operation are not considered recreational.

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  5. Where can I travel using IFTA Credentials?

    Most Canadian provinces and US states are IFTA members.

    The jurisdictions listed below are not IFTA members and IFTA credentials are not valid for travel there:

    • United States: Alaska, Hawaii and the District of Columbia
    • Canada: Northwest Territories, Nunuvit and Yukon Territory
    • Mexico: All states and the Federal District

    If you plan to travel in these jurisdictions please contact them for information regarding their fuel tax reporting requirements.

  6. Which taxes does IFTA cover?

    IFTA covers fuel taxes only. It does not cover road taxes, weight mileage taxes, or any other jurisdiction specific taxes. You must continue to pay these taxes directly to the jurisdictions in which you travel.

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  7. Which fuels does IFTA cover?

    Under IFTA, you must generally report information on all fuels used to power your qualified motor vehicles. However, reporting requirements for fuel used in each jurisdiction are based on that specific jurisdiction's laws and may vary.

  8. What are the fuel tax rates for IFTA jurisdictions?

    You may view, print, or download the fuel tax rates for all IFTA jurisdictions including California at http://www.iftach.org.

    If you are looking for the rates and codes to complete your quarterly fuel tax return, please download forms IFTA-105 and IFTA-105.1, IFTA Final Fuel Use Tax Rate and Rate Code Tables for the correct reporting period.

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  9. Should I register for IFTA in California?

    You should register with California as your base jurisdiction if all of the following apply:

    • Your qualified motor vehicles are based in California for vehicle registration with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV);
    • You perform operations from an established physical place of business in California (a post office box, mail drop address, or agent address boxes not qualify);
    • Your fleet's qualified motor vehicles travel on California highways; and
    • You maintain the operational control and operational records for your qualified motor vehicles in California or you can make those records available in the state.
  10. How do I apply for a California IFTA license?

    You may register for an account using online registration. Online registration is the convenient way to register and is available 24 hours a day.

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  11. What fees must I pay under IFTA?

    The annual fee for a California IFTA license is $10.00. This license covers all of your qualified motor vehicles. In addition, there is a $2.00 per-set charge for annual IFTA decals. You will need one set for each qualified motor vehicle you operate in IFTA jurisdictions.

  12. What credentials will I receive?

    We will send you one California IFTA license for your business. You are required to make copies of the license so that one copy is carried in each qualified motor vehicle.

    We will also send you two decals for each qualified motor vehicle in your fleet. One decal must be placed on the exterior portion of the cab's passenger side. The second decal must be placed in the same position on the driver's side. Decals are received annually at the time of renewal for all qualified motor vehicles based in California.

    Your credentials are valid for the calendar year. You must renew your license and order new decals each year. You may renew your IFTA credentials and/or request additional decals through our online registration.

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  13. What is the cost of a temporary permit and for how long is it valid?

    After you have received your initial IFTA credentials, you may request an IFTA temporary permit if you wish to place a qualified motor vehicle into service prior to obtaining permanent decals. The temporary permit is valid for 30 days. You must place the temporary permit and a copy of your IFTA license in the qualified motor vehicle for which the temporary permit was ordered. The temporary permit is valid only for that particular vehicle. We will not issue you a temporary permit unless your account is in good standing. Contact Us to request a temporary permit. There is no charge for the permit.

  14. What if I need to travel before I receive my credentials?

    If you need to travel out-of-state before you receive your IFTA credentials, you must purchase fuel trip permits to travel in IFTA jurisdictions and for your reentry into California. Your California Fuel Trip Permit must be purchased and validated before you reenter the state.

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  15. Where can I purchase California Fuel Trip Permits?

    California Fuel Trip Permits are available for purchase online using online registration. Online registration is the convenient way to apply anytime, day or night – 7 days a week (the system is unavailable from Sunday at 7:00 pm to Monday at 5:00 am, Pacific time for routine maintenance). Most applicants will be able to obtain their permit immediately after they submit their application.

    If you wish to purchase California Fuel Trip Permits in person, you may visit our Motor Carrier Office or any BOE field office. Our offices are open Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., excluding state holidays.

    California Fuel Trip Permits are also available from most permit services, some DMV offices, and some truck stops. We have compiled a listing of known locations that sell California Fuel Trip Permits. Every attempt is made to keep this information current but we would recommend that you call ahead to verify that they have an available supply of fuel trip permits.

  16. Are there penalties for traveling without valid IFTA credentials or a fuel trip permit?

    Yes. If you travel in an IFTA jurisdiction without valid IFTA credentials or a fuel trip permit, you may be subject to a penalty, fine or citation, depending on the jurisdiction's laws. If you enter California without a valid California Fuel Trip Permit or IFTA credentials you are subject to a penalty. Penalty amounts range from $100 to $500 or more (if you owe fuel tax, the penalty may be higher than $500). You will also be required to purchase a fuel trip permit and are subject to possible seizure of your vehicle. If that occurs, your vehicle will not be released until you pay all money due the State, including any costs associated with the seizure of the vehicle.

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  17. When are IFTA returns due?

    Under IFTA, you are required to file quarterly fuel tax returns. The reporting quarters and due dates are:

    Reporting Quarter
    Due Date
    January - March April 30
    April - June July 31
    July - September October 31
    October - December January 31

    All IFTA returns filed online must be filed and any amounts due must be paid by 12:00 a.m. (midnight) on the due date to be considered timely. Confirmation is received immediately upon filing your return. Please keep the confirmation of filing for your records.

    Carriers filing paper returns and payments made with a voucher must be postmarked on or before the due date of the return.

    If the due date falls on a weekend or state holiday, the due date is extended to the next business day.

    All licensees must file an IFTA tax return every quarter. A return must be filed each quarter even if:

    • No taxable miles were traveled
    • All miles traveled were in California
  18. Do I file a quarterly fuel tax return if I didn't run during the quarter?

    Yes, you must submit a "zero" return even if no taxable fuel was used.

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  19. What is the penalty and interest rate for filing a late quarterly fuel tax return?

    A penalty of $50.00 or ten percent of the net tax liability, whichever is greater, will be assessed on late-filed returns, failure to file, or for underpayment of tax due. If the net tax liability is zero or a credit, the late filing penalty will still be $50.00.

    Interest is assessed on all delinquent taxes due each jurisdiction. Interest will be calculated from the date the tax was due for each month or fraction of a month until paid. The IFTA online filing system will calculate the interest due on the return, assuming you pay at the time you file your return. If you are filing a prior period return, please refer to the interest rate chart or Contact Us for assistance.

    All IFTA returns must be filed online and any amounts due must be paid by 12:00 a.m. (midnight) on the due date to be considered timely. Confirmation is received immediately upon filing your return. Please keep the confirmation of filing for your records.

    Carriers filing Paper returns and payments made with a voucher must be postmarked on or before the due date of the return.

    If the due date falls on a weekend or state holiday, the due date is extended to the next business day.

  20. How do I obtain a return?

    We no longer routinely mail IFTA paper returns. IFTA Returns for the current reporting period should be filed on-line. This is a free service offered by the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) that allows a California-based IFTA carrier to quickly and accurately file their quarterly IFTA return using a computer that has an Internet connection. The tax forms are filed electronically so there is no need to worry about the tax forms being lost or delayed in the mail.

    We will send you an email reminder on the 10th day of the month the return is due. If you are not receiving an email reminder, please login into your User ID account and add your business email address.

    Failure to receive a paper return or an email reminder does not relieve you from the obligation of filing in a timely manner or submitting the return.

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  21. How do I amend or correct a previously filed return?

    If you discover an error on a previously filed return, you should file an amended return and pay any additional tax or fee due, including interest.  Currently, we do not have an electronic method for you to amend your return.

    To amend or correct a return for diesel fuel, please do the following:

    • Download a return  for the period that you need to amend or correct.  The rates and codes change quarterly, so please download the return for the specific period that you are filing. 
    • Enter your name, address, and account numbers on the return.
    • Select “AMENDED RETURN”.
    • Complete your return as it should have been reported on the original return.  If you need assistance in calculating the interest due, see IFTA Interest Rates.
    • Make a copy of the amended return for your records.
    • Mail your return and any additional payment owed to:
      Board of Equalization
      PO Box 22099
      Albany, NY 12201-2099

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  22. Are there any exemptions for off-road use or other unusual uses?

    International Fuel Tax Association, Inc. posts lists of exemptions accepted in each jurisdiction that you might travel. You may find the list of exemptions at: http://www.iftach.org. Every attempt is made to keep this information current but we would recommend that you contact each jurisdiction before taking an exemption.

  23. What records will I need?

    You must maintain records that will adequately document all of the information you provide on your quarterly fuel tax returns.

    Generally, you must maintain records to document all miles you travel - including the date of your trip, route of travel, total trip miles, and miles traveled in each jurisdiction. You must also keep all receipts for fuel you buy and place into your vehicles. If you maintain a bulk fuel storage facility, you must maintain additional records. For more detailed information please read Publication 50, Guide to the IFTA.

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  24. My IFTA License expires December 31, but I've heard there is an extension until the last day of February. Is this true?

    Yes. You have until March 1 of each year to carry a current IFTA license and display the current year's decals on your vehicles, provided you have applied on time to renew your IFTA license and your account is in good standing.

  25. Why has my IFTA license been revoked?

    If you do not comply with provisions of the IFTA Agreement, we may revoke your license. We may take this action if you do not:

    • Comply with all provisions of the IFTA Agreement and California fuel tax laws and regulations,
    • File a quarterly fuel tax return,
    • Pay all taxes due all member jurisdictions,
    • Pay the amount due on an audit billing or fail to petition for reconsideration within the established time period, or
    • Operate interstate.

    We will notify all IFTA jurisdictions if we revoke your license. If you operate a qualified motor vehicle in an IFTA jurisdiction after your license has been revoked, you may be subject to a penalty, fine or citation, depending on the jurisdiction's laws.

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