IFTA compliance can be a hassle, but it is a necessary part of operations for every North American trucking company. By integrating mileage programs and fuel card imports with your Dispatches, Tailwind can generate a comprehensive, IFTA-ready report — so long as everything is kept up to date!
To generate an IFTA report, navigate to the ‘IFTA’ link under Tools in the left navigation menu.
Generating the Report
Next, select the date range for which you want to generate the report. You can use the buttons labelled ‘Q1’, ‘Q2’, etc. to automatically select a date range that corresponds to that quarter of the year – you will almost always want to generate a quarterly report, so start by selecting the appropriate quarter.
Then click ‘Process IFTA’ to begin generating the report.
Once you have clicked the Process button, Tailwind will begin generating the full report in the background – depending on your total number of trucks, routes, and locations, this may take quite awhile. (Roughly speaking, expect it to take anywhere between ten minutes and an hour.)
Most importantly, you do not need to remain on the IFTA tool page while the report is generating. You can continue with other work, including work in Tailwind — doing so will not interrupt the IFTA report.
Once the report is ready, you will receive an e-mail at the address you have configured for Tailwind. The report will be attached, as a .CSV file that can easily be imported into Excel or another spreadsheet program.
Troubleshooting — ifta_report_failed.csv
Along with the main report file, you may also receive a second attachment on the same e-mail. This file, ‘ifta_report_failed*.csv’ contains a list of any Locations that the system was unable to properly identify, and which were therefore omitted from the IFTA report calculations. Depending on where these Locations are, this could seriously affect your main report, so we recommend fixing these Locations and generating the report again.
In some cases it will be obvious what the problem is with the Location — a typo in the name, a missing zip code, or something similar. In other cases, it may be less clear what has gone wrong. Tailwind relies on whatever third-party mileage program you use to identify the mileage for these routes, and that mileage program may have particular requirements — or strange behaviours of its own — that may not be immediately obvious.
Troubleshooting — Routing Issues
Sometimes, all the Locations will be working, but something will still be wrong with the report. For example, maybe you look at the data and you see a bunch of miles through a state or province that you are sure you never ship through. Cases like this, where the report shows your trucks driving ‘wrong’ routes, are usually the result of your mileage program assuming that your drivers are taking one route from point A to B, when they are actually taking another route. If you don’t have any Locations set in the middle of a very long route, your mileage program may assume your drivers took a very different route than they actually did. And while this may not make a big difference to the actual Dispatching and delivery of cargo, it will make a difference to IFTA.
To solve problems caused by incorrect routing assumptions, you will have to edit the corresponding Dispatch in Tailwind and add an intermediary Location between the two relevant points.
For example: You are moving a load from Spokane, Washington to Kansas City, Missouri and the mileage program routes the truck east along I90 and then drops south at Sioux Falls on I29 – but your driver actually took the southern route dropping, down from Buffalo into Cheyenne and then traveled east on I80. In order to account for that change in the route so those State jurisdictional miles can be picked up, you will need to enter an intermediary location into the route plan. In this particular scenario, you would add Cheyenne, Wyoming to the route plan on the dispatch. That would force the mileage program to show the route and calculate those state jurisdictional miles.
Troubleshooting – Fuel Cards & Fuel Stops
Another possible source of unusual IFTA report results is fuel card assignment. Tailwind uses the data from your fuel card imports to determine how much fuel your trucks are using on each route. It can only do this if you are correctly tracking which fuel card is allocated to which truck. Errors often occur when cards are swapped between trucks, or new cards are introduced, but those changes are not reflected in Tailwind — or are only partially reflected. For example, if a fuel card is swapped to a new tractor, but it accidentally remains assigned to the old tractor as well, this can lead to some very confusing results.
If you discover that there is a problem with your fuel card assignments, you will need to correct the assignments in Tailwind. However, you will also need to manually delete any Fuel Stops that were incorrectly assigned to a tractor as a result of it having the wrong card. In some cases, it may make sense to re-import your fuel files once you have removed the incorrect entries; in other cases, a small number of manual edits may be adequate. In any case, this is a good time to ensure that your cards are correctly-assigned moving forward.
Troubleshooting – Accounting for Taxi Miles
As we all know, the more miles you report on IFTA, the better for you — so if you allow the driver to take his tractor home or if an owner operator goes off route for a family emergency, you will also want to make sure locations are added to the route plan of the dispatch to account for those taxi miles.
Still Stuck? – Contact Support
Of course, sometimes things aren’t working for reasons that are harder to figure out; or sometimes, what seems like an obvious fix doesn’t actually fix the report. If you are still seeing problems with the data in your IFTA report, or cannot determine what might be going wrong, we recommend contacting our Support department.