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Glostone Newsletter July 2015

IRS Heavy Vehicle Use Tax Deadline Approaches

Someone once said that the only things certain in life were death and taxes.  One of life’s certainties is quickly approaching in the form of the IRS required Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT).  Based on the findings of the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) road test, damage caused by heavy trucks was 160,000 times more damaging to a road surface than a 0.5 ton car. The heavy vehicle use tax is a fee assessed annually on heavy vehicles operating on public highways at registered gross weights equal to or exceeding 55,000 pounds.  The funds collected through the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax are invested back into our nation’s transportation infrastructure to help repair the damage.

Each HVUT tax year runs from July 1st through June 30th of the following year.  The deadline to file and pay the tax to the IRS without penalty is August 31.  The form used for filing the HVUT tax is Form 2290, taking care to use the correct form year 2015-2016. 2290 forms are generally made available each July by the IRS.

The IRS is responsible for HVUT collections and taxpayer audits.  States are required to obtain proof of HVUT payments when registering heavy trucks subject to the tax. Some states will not renew truck registrations without proof of HVUT payment at the time of registration and other states will allow a short grace period, after registration, in which to fax in a copy of your HVUT payment to your state’s licensing authority. If you fail to send in proof of HUVT payment to your relevant licensing authority before the end of their grace period, license plates can be suspended.

For more information you can go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov and search for Form 2290.  If you have questions or would like help filing your 2290, give Glostone Trucking Solutions a call at 503-607-1088.

 

Oregon Law Will Raise Some Car-Truck Speeds Around the State

On Monday, July 20th, Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill into law that increases the speed limit for personal and commercial vehicles on rural sections of highway in Central and Eastern Oregon. This new law will still maintain a speed differential between cars and trucks but motorists will soon be able to drive 65 mph on selected stretches of interstate highways. Large trucks will be restricted to 55 mph. Oregon will now join its neighboring states and other states whose local statues limit cars to 60 mph and trucks to 55 on interstate highways, unless the posted speed is allows higher speeds. The specific stretches of roadway that will be affected by this legislation include:

 

Interstate 84 East of The Dalles – the speed limit for motorists will increase to 70 mph; truck speed will be raised to 65 mph.
U.S. 95 between the Idaho and California lines – the speed limit for motorists will increase to 70 mph and 65 mph for trucks.
Along U.S. 20 between Bend and Ontario and on state Highway 26 between John Day and Vale – speeds will increase to 65 mph for motorists and 60 mph for trucks.
On U.S. 97 and state Highway 197 between The Dalles and Klamath Falls – speed limits will be raised to 65 mph for motorists and 60 mph for trucks.
The speed limits on state Highway 78 between Burns Junction and Burns, and on state Highway 395 between Burns and John Day, as well as state Highway 205 between Burns and French Glen will be increased to 65 mph for cars and 60 mph for trucks.

 

The speed changes were authorized by HB3402 and will become effective on March 1st, 2016.

 

Washington Increases Fuel Tax Rate

At the beginning of July, the Washington State legislature approved and sent to Governor Inslee a transportation package that includes an increase of 11.9 cents a gallon in the state’s fuel tax rate.  The governor is expected to sign the legislation into law (Subst. S.B. 5987)  and the tax increase will be implemented in two steps – 7 cents a gallon will be added this August 1st to the current tax and the remaining 4.9 cents will be added next July 1.  These increases will bring Washington’s fuel tax rate for gasoline and diesel fuel to 49.4 cents.  Washington is the seventh state this year to raise the rate of its fuel tax by legislation.  The others who raised their fuel taxes are Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, South Dakota, and Utah.  Two other states, Kentucky and North Carolina, enacted changes to their fuel tax indexing statutes to stop the decline in their tax rates due to the fall in fuel prices.

 

Note that the August 1st increase in Washington will require split reporting on carriers’ third-quarter 2015 International Fuel Tax Agreement reports with part of the third quarter’s miles reported at the old rate and part at the new rate.  Should you need help filing your 3rd quarter IFTA tax return, call Glostone Trucking Solutions at 503-607-1088!

 

Bookkeeping/Payroll Services Available

Glostone Trucking Solutions has teamed with Makin and Associates Accounting Solutions to provide accurate and professional bookkeeping and payroll services.  Makin and Associates have over 10 years of experience providing top notch service to trucking industry clients.  Services include:

 

Payroll Calculations
Accounts Receivables
Accounts Payables
Data Entry
Income Statements
Balance Sheets
Profit & Loss Statements
Certified Payroll
W-2’s; 1099’s and more!

 

Makin and Associates are conveniently located within our Glostone offices at 9111 SE St Helens Street, Clackamas, OR 97015.  They can be reached by calling 503-908-7282.  Walk-ins are welcome!

 

Log Book Mastery Course

Hours of service rules have been the irritant of driver and manager alike for as long as anyone can remember. Logbook violations are among the easiest violations for an auditor to find during a safety review. If you fail in this area, the best safety rating you will get is a Conditional. Glostone Trucking Solutions 8 hour Log Book Mastery Class will help you more effectively to understand, follow, and implement the hours-of-service rules. We cover the follow topics in our class:

 

Hours of Service rules: 11-14, 60/7, & 70/8 rules
Split-sleeper & combined off-duty options

•     How to check for falsified logs

•     Effective discipline programs

•     34 Hour Restart

•     30 minute Rest Break

 

Our next class will be held August 20th, 2015 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at the Glostone Clackamas Learning Center.  Tuition is $99.00 and includes all workshop materials and lunch!  Register for the class by going to the Glostone website at www.glostone.com or call 503-607-1088.

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Glostone Newsletter April 2015

Glostone Newsletter April 2015

Six Month Sentence For Not Disclosing Accidents To Carrier

A South Carolina truck driver has been sentenced to time served, 6 months, and three years of supervised release for not disclosing to his carrier his truck accident history.

Arnold Williams was terminated from his carrier in February 2013, but applied to work as a driver for a different carrier in April 2013. He was hired, but he failed to list previous accidents on his employment application, violating FMCSA regulations.

Though he pleaded guilty in January to charges of making false statements on an FMCSA-required form, Williams is also facing charges of reckless homicide and possessing an open alcohol container following a January 2013 crash that resulted in one death and three injuries.

He has been in custody for six months and will remain in custody while awaiting trial for homicide charges.

1ST Quarter IFTA Tax Filing Deadline-April 30

April 30 is the deadline to file your 1st quarter International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) tax filing.  States depend upon fuel taxes to help support their infrastructure programs.   They are concerned that commercial trucks, with their large fuel tank capacity, can fill up in one state and then drive through other states without having to re-fill and pay any fuel taxes to those states.

The IFTA tax filing addresses those concerns.  The program fairly distributes fuel taxes to every state based upon where the fuel was used while taking into account the taxes paid at the pump where the fuel was purchased. Interstate commercial trucks that exceed 26,000 lbs in gross vehicle weight are required to participate in IFTA reporting.

An accurate IFTA tax filing requires detailed distance and fuel purchase record keeping.  Every state audits carriers to ensure the correct fuel taxes have been paid.  IFTA audits can look at records going back 4 years.  Paper records as well as electronic records must include details of every mile driven for every truck.  Details include odometers, distance by state, routes of travel, beginning and ending points and more.

Carriers must be very detailed in their record keeping to avoid audit penalties.  Of particular concern are carriers using Garmin-like electronic devices to track their distance only to find at audit that the service does not provide the details required.

Should you need help filing your tax return, the required record keeping, or analyzing your electronic devices for IFTA compliance give us a call at 503-607-1088.

 

CVSA’s International Roadcheck Annual Three-Day Enforcement Event to Take Place June 2-4, 2015

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 28th annual International Roadcheck will take place June 2-4, 2015. International Roadcheck is a 72-hour period when approximately 10,000 CVSA-certified local, state, provincial and federal inspectors in jurisdictions across North America perform truck and bus inspections.

International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with nearly 17 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute in Canada, the United States and Mexico during a 72-hour period. During the annual three-day event, CVSA-certified inspectors conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle, driver, and cargo safety and security.

Each year, International Roadcheck places special emphasis on a category of violations. The special emphasis for International Roadcheck 2015 is cargo securement. While checking for compliance with safe loading regulations is always part of roadside inspections, CVSA is highlighting cargo safety as a reminder to drivers and carriers. The proper loading and securing of cargo on vehicles is a matter of public safety. For many types of loads, particularly those that are not sealed or otherwise inaccessible to the driver, regulations require the driver to stop within the first several miles of a trip and recheck the tie downs and other load securing equipment.

Inspectors will primarily be conducting the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is the most thorough roadside inspection. It is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both the driver and vehicle. Drivers will be asked to provide items such as their license, endorsements, medical card and hours-of-service documentation, and will be checked for seat belt usage and the use of alcohol and/or drugs. The vehicle inspection includes checking items such as the braking system, coupling devices, exhaust system, frame, fuel system, lights, safe loading, steering mechanism, drive line, suspension, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels and rims, windshield wipers, and emergency exits on buses.

 

Employer Responsibilities For Managing a DOT Regulated Drug and Alcohol Program

Even if you use a Third Party to manage the details of your required drug and alcohol testing program, there are still very important requirements that, as the carrier, you must make sure happens correctly.  We offer a 4 hour training course that provides an in depth look into Part 382 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.  Topics include: testing procedures, notice requirements, start dates, employee admission, required testing, handling of test results, record retention, policies, confidentiality and more.

Our next class is May 13.  Register using the training page on our website at www.glostone.com or by calling Jennifer at 503-607-1088.

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Glostone Newsletter March 2015

Glostone Newsletter March 2015

What Are IRP & IFTA Auditors Looking For?

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International Registration Plan (IRP) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) auditors from nearly every state and Canadian province recently gathered in San Antonio, Texas.  The purpose of this annual meeting is to review audit standards and methods used to ensure carriers are in compliance and are paying their proper fees.

The International Registration Plan and the International Fuel Tax Agreement both apply to trucks over 26,000lbs that travel interstate.  The IRP deals with how states register vehicles and distribute the registration fees accurately and fairly to the states traveled.  IFTA is the system used to collect and distribute fuel tax monies based upon where the fuel was used.  To ensure every carrier is paying the appropriate fees, each state is required to audit 3% or more of their carriers registered in these programs every year.

Compliance with both IRP and IFTA depends heavily upon carrier’s ability to accurately track and report distance traveled.  Carriers are required to maintain records that allow their base state to verify the distances they have reported and the accounting system used to determine their reports.  IFTA goes beyond IRP record keeping requirements by also requiring fuel purchase records.  The records are used by auditors to verify that each carrier has an adequate record keeping system in place and uses those records to pay the proper registration and fuel tax fees.  Auditors can request records going back 3 years.

Here is a list of required records common to both IRP and IFTA:

1. Distance recaps for each vehicle for each jurisdiction in which the vehicle operated.

a. An acceptable distance accounting system is necessary to substantiate the information reported on the tax return filed quarterly or annually. At a minimum, must include distance data on each individual vehicle for each trip and be recapitulated in monthly fleet summaries. Supporting information should include:

* Date of trip (starting and ending);

* Trip origin and destination;

*  Route of travel;

* Beginning and ending odometer

* Total trip miles/kilometers;

* Miles/kilometers by jurisdiction;

* Unit number or vehicle identification number;

* Vehicle fleet number;

* Registrant’s name; and

* May include additional information at the discretion of the base jurisdiction.

Additional fuel records are required for IFTA. The fuel records shall contain:

1. The date of each receipt of fuel;

2. The name and address of the person from whom purchased or received;

3. The number of gallons or liters received;

4. The type of fuel;

5. The vehicle or equipment number into which the fuel was placed, and

6. If applicable, details of taxable and non-taxable usage of fuel;

These are the minimum records needed for an IFTA and/or IRP audit.  Just having the document does not mean it will be acceptable.  Auditors will verify the accuracy of the records plus ensure the correct numbers were actually calculated and reported.

Common mistakes carriers make with IFTA and IRP record keeping:

* Recording miles from dispatch records and not balancing them with odometer readings

* Recording miles using mapping software and zip code references

* Not recording odometer readings

* Not recording routes of travel

* Not recording empty or bob-tail miles

* Not recording personal miles

* Not keeping fuel receipts or accepting fuel receipts without the required information included.

* Using a GPS system that does not maintain location coordinates for at least 3 years.

* Using a GPS system that does not record location frequently enough to verify routes of travel

* Using a GPS system that does not reconcile distance to odometers

When inadequate records are found, auditors can apply error percentages to the entire three year audit period and to all vehicles which can result in substantial fees plus penalty and interest assessments.  When it comes to compliance, being proactive is the key.  Have systems in place that will guarantee records compliance and promote safety.  If you need help with a proactive plan, give us a call!

Pre-Employment Screening Program

The DOT makes available to carriers their Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP).  The information contained in the PSP reports is a summary of each drivers roadside violations going back 3 years.  This information can prove invaluable when trying to select the right driver for your company.

Carriers can enroll in the PSP program or avoid the annual fee by having us run the PSP report for you! Glostone is an authorized 3rd party provider for PSP reports.  Give us a call for more information!

Driver Physicals Available

The DOT requires commercial drivers to be physically qualified to drive a motor vehicle.  To be qualified to drive, a physical exam is required and valid medical examination certificate obtained.  The exam requirement applies to all CDL drivers and to non-CDL drivers of commercial vehicles over 10,000lbs that travel interstate.  Non-CDL drivers driving strictly intrastate are exempt from required physical exams.

Our sister company CleanFleet has teamed up with Dr. Julia Wilber D.C., Dr. Angela Ozeruga D.C., and Dr. Kristen Livingston, D.C. to provide driver physical examinations here at our office in Clackamas and at our Jubitz Travel Center location.  All examiners are DOT certified.  Other services can be performed as well including fitness agility testing and general chiropractic services.  Cost for a standard DOT driver physical is $85.00.  Walk-in’s are welcome but appointments are encouraged by calling 503-479-6082.

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Glostone Newsletter February 2015

Glostone Newsletter February 2015

Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR)

This is a reminder for those carriers that operate in Canada. Despite FMCSA’s change to their driver-vehicle inspection report (DVIR) rules which no longer requires a “no defects” report, all Canadian provinces continue to require this report and it must be present with the vehicle.

Oregon MVR’s, Be Careful When Ordering From a 3rd Party

Another aspect of the new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation requiring drivers to submit medical exam certifications to the DMV is that employers must now insure the driver has submitted the required information by obtaining a Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) that includes the medical exam certification.  As of January 31, MVR’s that do not include the medical exam certification can be in violation of the rule.
For typical 3rd parties such as Hire Right who carriers often use to order MVR’s, the Oregon “sanitized” MVR that is issued to 3rd parties will not include the medical exam certification.  The Oregon DMV has no timetable as to when these 3rd party sanitized MVR versions will be made available with the required information.
Glostone Trucking Solutions has entered into a contract with Oregon to legally disseminate full MVR’s that includes the medical exam certification to qualified companies.  Should you want a fast and convenient method to obtain fully compliant Oregon MVR’s, contact us at 503-607-1088!

Medical Card Update

Last month we reported that new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations allow drivers to no longer carry their medical cards on their person.  We also reported that even though Federal Law permits this practice, both Oregon and Washington still have state laws that require these medical cards to be carried by the driver.

In an update, the Oregon Trucking Association (OTA) has worked with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for a solution to this issue.  As a result, ODOT is now in the process of notifying all Oregon enforcement personnel to no longer enforce this part of the state law.  In addition, the OTA is working with State lawmakers to create the needed Bill to permanently repeal this requirement.

There is no word from the State of Washington as to how they will be addressing this issue.  Because of the likelihood of potential problems drivers could face, we still recommend that all drivers continue to carry a copy of their medical card until these issues are completely resolved.

FMCSA’s 34-hour Restart Study to Begin Soon

At the end of 2014, as part of the appropriations bill, Congress directed FMCSA to conduct a study of whether truck drivers are more fatigued and less safe operating under the 2013 hours-of-service restart provisions compared to the pre-2013 rules. They plan to begin conducting the study this month. The study will be made up of two groups of drivers: one working under the pre-2013 rules and one that uses the post-2013 rules. These groups will be studied for five months, while FMCSA looks at things such as crashes/near crashes; operator fatigue and the alertness and health of drivers.

FMCSA plans to use items including electronic logging devices, psychomotor vigilance tests, actigraph watches, onboard cameras and sleepiness scales to evaluate the set criteria. A panel made up of people that FMCSA states will have “medical and scientific expertise” will review the study. FMCSA’s conclusions will then be sent to the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General for a final look.

The passage of the bill in December halted enforcement of two provisions of the 2013 hours-of-service rule changes:The requirement that a driver’s 34-hour restart include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods and
The once-per-week limit to the restart’s use.
The stay of enforcement will be in place at least until Sept. 30, 2015. Before the post-2013 provisions can go back into effect, FMCSA’s report must show that post-2013 restart rules reduce driver fatigue and increase alertness and safety.

If you would like more information about the study, you can email FMCSA at driver_restart_stud@dot.gov.

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Glostone Newsletter November 2014

Glostone Newsletter November 2014

California Given EPA Waiver Allowing Enforcement of Greenhouse Gas Regulations

The California Air Resources Board has issued a regulatory advisory to notify carriers that they sought and received a waiver of the federal Clean Air Act from the Environmental Protection Agency.  The waiver paves the way for California to legally enforce specific provisions of its Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas regulations.

The California Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Regulation, adopted in December 2008, was developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by improving the fuel efficiency of heavy duty tractors that pull 53 foot or longer box type trailers.  The regulation requires tractor-trailers operating in California to use tractors and box type trailers that utilize certain aerodynamic equipment and low rolling resistance tires that have been verified by the US EPA SmartWay program.

Prior to receiving the waiver from the EPA, only 2010 and older model year tractors and trailers could be ticketed for California Greenhouse Gas regulation infractions.  With the waiver, 2011 and newer model year tractors and trailers can now be targeted.

Carriers operating in California need to be aware of these additional requirements.

It’s Time For 2015 Licensing and Permit Renewals

Renewing registrations, licenses, tax accounts, and many specialty permits is an annual headache carrier’s dread.   Most 2015 renewals start in October and must be completed prior to December 31, 2014, including:

  • Oregon Truck Registrations (including proof of HVUT payment)
  • IFTA Licenses
  • UCR Filings
  • Oregon Weight/Tax Identifier Account
  • New Mexico Mileage Tax Account
  • And many individual Federal and State specialty permits like:
    • Over Dimensional Permits
    • HazMat Permits

Avoid the long lines and waits altogether by having Glostone process your renewals. We are experts in the renewal process, use the latest technology and have daily agency appointments to get your renewals processed timely and without the headache. Don’t wait until the last minute! Call us today!

Log Book Mastery Course Offered

Hours of service rules have been the irritant of driver and manager alike for as long as anyone can remember. Log book violations are the number one reason drivers are placed out of service.   Logbook violations are also among the easiest violations for an auditor to find during a safety review. If your company fails in this area the best safety rating you will get is a Conditional.

Our 8 hour Log Book Mastery class will show you how to better understand and self-regulate:

  • Hours of Service rules: 11-14, 60/7, & 70/8 rules
  • Split-sleeper & combined off-duty options
  • How to check for falsified logs
  • Effective discipline programs
  • 34 Hour Restart
  • 30 minute Rest Break

The class will be held November 26th, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm at our Glostone Clackamas Learning Center. Tuition is $99.00 and includes all workshop materials, catered lunch and a certificate of completion.

Stealthy Health: Easy Ways to Stay Well on the Road

Stay on the Move by Michelle Kalista

When it comes to calorie loss: movement is movement.  Whether you are taking a jog before a shift, or fiddling with the radio – all movement results in a loss of calories.  What does this mean?  That you can stay healthier on the road by making small increases in your movement whenever you have the chance.  Now of course there are some activities that cause you to lose calories more quickly, however even small movements produce a thermogenic (heat producing) effect that will burn calories.  A couple of examples: take a trip around your trailer before climbing in the cab, stretch in the cab when stopped, and one of the easiest ways: fidget.  Yes, fidgeting can burn calories.  In fact, if consistent, it can burn up to about 800 calories in one day!  Now, by the definition of the word, fidgeting can include any small idle movements such as: drumming your fingers on the wheel, changing the radio station, reaching for a water bottle, etc.  The more you move, the move effective the movement will be in calorie loss.  A bonus is that if the movement is consistent, your body builds upon the energy it is already burning.  For example: if you were to involve yourself in a higher level of physical activity such as running, these thermogenic effects could last for up to 8 hours after your exercise.  To capitalize on this benefit, continuing any type of physical activity can help this effect last even longer.  To put it simply – move as much as you can!  Whenever you have the chance to make a few extra movements, think about the benefit you are giving to your body and then stay on the move.

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