By Karen Sboto
It is 10 in the morning, the circles under my eyes are as black as tires and my stomach is rumbling from all of the coffee I imbibed last night to stay awake. I know that this is a condition that truckers are used to, but it only afflicts me every three months when our quarterly fuel taxes are due.
I always start the process well prepared. All of Buddy’s trip sheets are tallied up and carefully entered into an Excel worksheet. I print it out on a beautiful, clean legal sheet, and it sits in front of me devoid of any marks or corrections.
When I open the state’s IFTA Web site, I say the first prayer of the night. This process, as those of you who have done it know, is one that has to be started and completed in one go. Which is why, in my house, it is done only after the children are asleep.
I begin with the first cutesy, but benign, part where you pick the states you have hauled in. It is fun to see the map get filled in. Then I do the gallon/mile calculation, which is always a little disappointing. I then start entering the miles traveled and gallons purchased per state.
I double-check all of my entries and with an extra-sincere prayer I click on “SUBMIT.” My hands always break out in a cold sweat at this point, and as usual, that little red warning comes up saying that my totals did not equal the individual state miles.
This is when my evening really begins. It takes hours to find that one missed state or fuel purchase. It is really the only tax that I am grateful to pay, though, as it means that I am done and can finally go to bed.
By the time you read this your fuel taxes will not be due for another few weeks. Until then, enjoy your summer. Maybe next time, I will only have to press “SUBMIT” once. Wish me luck.
Karen Sboto married into the trucking industry four years ago. She and her husband, Buddy Blanton, operate Aegis Transportation, which they started three years ago. Together they have three children under the age of eight. They are OOIDA members and live in Wilmington, NC. You may reach Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org.