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IFTA Frequently Asked Questions
General: What is a qualified motor vehicle?
IFTA defines a “qualified motor vehicle” as a motor vehicle used, designed, or maintained for transportation of persons or property and:
- Having two axles and a gross vehicle weight or registered gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms; or
- Having three or more axles regardless of weight; or
- Is used in combination, when the weight of such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms gross vehicle or registered gross vehicle weight.
Qualified motor vehicle does not include recreational vehicles. Farm plated vehicles and school buses meeting the definition of “qualified motor vehicle” will need to obtain an IFTA license and decals if they are traveling in another jurisdiction where they are required.
General: How can I contact the Michigan IFTA office?
The Michigan IFTA Unit telephone number is 517-636-4580. Written inquiries or other correspondence should be mailed to:
Michigan Department of Treasury
Special Taxes Division – IFTA Unit
P.O. Box 30474
Lansing, MI 48909-7974
You may also e-mail us at IFTA_Licensing@michigan.gov. The department cannot respond to confidential correspondence via e-mail. General questions will be answered via e-mail however, account specific questions will be answered by telephone or US mail.
General: I'm no longer in business. How do I cancel my account?
A request to cancel your account must be made, in writing, within 15 days from the date of discontinuance. Form 4460, IFTA Request for Cancellation of Account is available on our website. Failure to submit a cancellation request timely will result in your account remaining active and quarterly tax returns due or estimated tax bills being issued.
Department policy requires all decals either be destroyed by you or retained for 4 years for auditing purposes. You may send unused decals back to the department if they are still valid for the current year. If decals are being destroyed by you, Form 2824, Statement Claiming Lost, Destroyed, Undelivered or Stolen State of Michigan IFTA Fuel Decal(s) MUST be submitted so your IFTA account licensing information can be updated. You are responsible for filing all tax returns that are due prior to the date your account has been cancelled.
General: What is my base jurisdiction for IFTA licensing?
IFTA defines “base jurisdiction” as the member jurisdiction where your “qualified motor vehicles” are based for vehicle registration purposes and:
- Where the operational control and operational records of the licensee’s “qualified motor vehicles” are maintained or can be made available.
- Where some travel is accrued by “qualified motor vehicles” in the licensee’s fleet.
General: What are the phone numbers for the Departments I may need to contact?
- The regulatory and credentialing section of the Michigan State Police, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division (MSP/CVED): 517-284-3250
- Secretary of State, International Registration Plan (IRP):
- Michigan Trucking Association: 517-321-1951
- Federal Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax: 800-829-4933
- Michigan Center for Truck Safety: 800-682-4682 or 517-321-1951
Licensing: I added a truck to my fleet and need an additional decal. What should I do?
Current licensees have access to their online IFTA IPC account where additional decals can be ordered and temporary decal permits can be generated from the current year IFTA license page. The license pages for this year and previous years you were licensed for IFTA can be accessed by clicking on the “IFTA” button in the upper-right hand corner of your online account.
Licensing: What should I do if my decals were on a truck that I sold, or were otherwise destroyed or lost?
Submit Form 2824, Statement Claiming Lost, Destroyed, Undelivered or Stolen State of Michigan IFTA Fuel Decal(s) to remove old decals from your account. Then log in to your online IFTA IPC account to order a replacement (additional) decal. Refer to the question above for instructions on ordering a replacement decal.
Licensing: How do I apply for an IFTA license and decals?STOP!! If you do not travel outside of Michigan, you do not need an IFTA license.
If you operate a “qualified motor vehicle” interstate you will need to complete an online application to receive your IFTA license and decals.
- Licensees who were not licensed in the previous year will file a new IFTA application electronically through the IFTA IPC online application portal.
- A renewal license can be completed on your existing IFTA IPC account.
There is no fee for an IFTA license and decals. Inaccurate information may result in lengthy delays in processing your application. Please review your application for accuracy prior to submission. Retain the e-mail confirming submission of your application for reference.
Once a new application is approved, you’ll immediately receive an e-mail indicating your approval. The license and decals will then be mailed via USPS to the mailing address on the application within 1-2 business days. Included with the license and decals will be instructions for accessing your IFTA IPC account as well as commonly used Michigan IFTA forms. It is advised you keep record of the decal numbers (sequence) you received prior to applying them to the vehicle(s).
A renewal license that is filed in the IFTA IPC will automatically produce a decal order which will be completed and mailed via USPS the following business day. The IFTA license is immediately available for printing at the time you file your renewal.
Licensing: Should I get an IFTA license even if I don't leave Michigan?
No. IFTA requires interstate travel. Zero mileage or Michigan only travel could result in the denial of a future IFTA license. Quarterly returns are required for all current IFTA licensees regardless of activity. Three quarters of non-interstate travel may result in cancellation or non-renewal of the account.
Through a wire service, temporary fuel permits are available 24 hours a day for unexpected interstate travel. A listing of current temporary permit agencies can be found here.
Licensing: I am a new IFTA licensee. I filed my NEW application on line but I have not yet received my license or decals. Can I start operating under IFTA without them?
Licensing: I am a current IFTA licensee. I RENEWED my license on the IPC system but I have not yet received my decals for next year. Can I continue to operate without them?
The IFTA Agreement allows a two-month grace period from January 1st – February 28th for current IFTA licensees to operate under the prior year decals if they have renewed their license in their base jurisdiction before the current license expires, December 31st. Your license is printable on your online IPC account where you also have the ability to generate and print a temporary decal permit if your qualified motor vehicle does not have a prior year decal. The current year active license must be carried along with the prior year license during the grace period.
Beginning March 1st, all qualifying vehicles must have the current year decals affixed on the vehicle. The IFTA Agreement requires that vehicle operations during the grace period be reported on the 1st quarter IFTA tax return.
Licensing: I completed my RENEWAL on time. Why haven't I received my license and decals?
Your license is printable on your IPC account at any time after you have successfully renewed. Decals are mailed out via USPS the following business day after the renewal license order is completed. Please verify the mailing address on your IFTA IPC account is accurate before you renew. Two of the most common mistakes that will delay you receiving decals are:
- Failure to complete the renewal process entirely by clicking the “Save and Calculate Fees” and ”File” buttons.
- Inaccurate mailing address at the time of renewal. Please complete Form 5428, IFTA Address Change Request as soon as possible when an address change occurs.
Licensing: I am operating a qualified motor vehicle but I am traveling interstate on a short-term basis. Am I required to be licensed for IFTA?
No. You have the option of purchasing temporary fuel permits through a permit agency. You may need to purchase a temporary fuel permit for each state you will travel through while operating your qualified motor vehicle. Michigan limits the purchase of fuel permits to 3 permits per USDOT # per calendar year for carriers traveling into Michigan. Carriers exceeding or who anticipate exceeding this limit need to be licensed for IFTA in their base jurisdiction. Contact numbers for individual jurisdictions can be found on the IFTA, Inc. website by clicking on the "Carrier Information" link.
Reporting: I need help with my quarterly return. Who can I talk to?
Through your online IFTA IPC account, you have access to training documents and videos by clicking the “Help” button in the upper-right hand corner of the screen. This page contains training materials for common issues encountered by users and various functions of the IPC.
For additional assistance, you can contact our office at 517-636-4580, Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 4:45 P.M. or mail correspondence to:
Michigan Department of Treasury
Special Taxes Division – IFTA Unit
P.O. Box 30474
Lansing, MI 48909-7974
Reporting: Do I have to file the quarterly IFTA fuel tax returns?
Yes. If you are licensed for IFTA, a quarterly return must be filed even if you had no activity for the quarter.
In order to complete the IFTA return, you must maintain records of all fuel purchases and miles driven in each IFTA jurisdiction for the quarter. Failure to keep adequate records may result in disallowed credits and your fleet MPG may be set to 4.0 as permitted under the Motor Carrier Fuel Tax Act.
The quarterly returns are due on April 30, July 31, October 31 and January 31 of each year. If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the returns are due on the next business day. Failure to file the required quarterly return will result in the Department issuing computed assessments against your account. Availability to file your quarterly returns online in the IFTA IPC system begin the day following the end of a quarter (April 1, July 1, October 1 & January 1).
Reporting: Am I subject to interest or penalties if I fail to timely file an IFTA fuel tax return?
Yes. The IFTA Articles of Agreement provide for a late payment penalty in the amount of $50 or 10 percent of the tax due, whichever is greater. The IFTA Agreement also provides for the interest to be charged according to the following:
January 1, 2017
July 1, 2013 – December 31, 2016
Prior to July 1, 2013
Interest is not charged on the net amount of tax due on the return but is calculated on the amount of tax due to each jurisdiction. In some cases, the interest due can be greater than the net amount of tax due.
Reporting: My vehicle is leased to another company. Do I need to file a quarterly return?
The Motor Carrier Fuel Tax Act specifically references lease agreements. See MCL 207.218.
If you have a current IFTA fuel tax license, you must file the quarterly returns reporting all of the mileage and fuel purchases which occurred under your IFTA credentials. You must file a return even if you had no activity under your license but operated under a lease agreement where IFTA taxes were reported and paid on your behalf by the lessor. In this case, you would file No Operations if the lessor is filing your mileage and fuel purchases on your behalf. The Department may request a copy of your lease agreement if necessary for validation. Three quarters of ineligible travel may result in the cancellation or non-renewal of your license.
If you enter into a lease agreement and the lessor provides you with fuel decals, issued in their name, and they have exclusive use of your equipment, they are to include your activity and fuel purchases on their fuel tax reports until the lease is terminated. Under this scenario, we strongly advise motor carrier lessees to cancel their IFTA fuel tax license. By doing this you will avoid many of the problems associated with delinquent returns and computed assessments. The Department may require you to supply a copy of the lease, copy of the lessors IFTA License, and the decal sequence number they supplied to you.
Protect yourself! Review all lease contracts carefully and ensure the IFTA tax reporting responsibility is clearly defined.
It is important to remember that Michigan statute holds the lessor and lessee jointly and severally liable for any fuel tax liabilities that occur during the term of their lease.
Reporting: I have an IFTA decal. How do I get the latest tax rates for the jurisdictions that I travel in?
Reporting: Does registering for IFTA eliminate all other jurisdictions' tax requirements?
No. It is your obligation to be aware of each jurisdiction’s fuel and vehicle regulations as well as any additional tax requirements. Links to other jurisdictions can be found on the IFTA, Inc. website at www.iftach.org.