IFTA is the international fuel tax agreement. It arranges for the reimbursement for fuel taxes across state and international lines (when your trucks cross into Canada). Trucking companies do have the option of refusing to become official members in IFTA, but then you will need fuel permits for every state and every province into which one of your trucks passes. There are permanent annual permits, and there are temporary permits. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of the temporary permits.
Temporary Permits Last Just Long Enough
Take temporary fuel permits in North Dakota, for example. You can buy a temporary fuel permit for three days. That is just long enough for your truck and its driver to cross into and/or through North Dakota to drop off a load and come back. Your driver is safe from penalties if he/she is pulled over by the police, and you and your company reap the benefits of the fuel permit. Make sure you buy the fuel permit in advance to the driver's trip, and he/she is good to go. (Repeat the temporary fuel permit process for each state the driver has to go through, too.)
Temporary Permits Are an Affordable Short-Term Option
A lot of trucking companies do not like the idea of having to pay annual dues just to drive across state and provincial lines. However, they definitely do not like the idea of paying big ticket fees for driving without the permits either. If your trucks rarely cross out of state, then temporary permits are a reasonably affordable short-term option. Most states charge varying fees for their short-term permits in accordance with state trucking laws.
More Trips Makes Temporary Permits Less Ideal
If you suddenly find that you have a few customers who are requesting frequent trips into other states or provinces, temporary permits are not such a good idea. Compounded temporary permit fees for each state/province and every trip adds up fast. You may reach the point where paying your annual dues into IFTA would be cheaper than the temporary permits. If your trucking company is growing that rapidly, temporary permits may no longer be a viable solution.
Temporary Permits Do Not Accommodate Special Circumstances
If a truck breaks down, or a driver becomes sick, the temporary permits will expire. The longer the immobile state of truck and driver in one location, the more likely the temporary permit becomes useless. Then you have to pay double the temporary permit fee (or triple!) just to get the truck and driver back on the road and through that particular state.
Talk with a company that provides fuel permits like Highway Permits about what would be right for your business.