SPAN Blog

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

It's A Crazy Time of Year, and We're Here to Help

Edward Dzialo 7/08/2020 Be the first to comment!



At SPAN Enterprises, July 1st marks a shift in the year: it’s when the IRS begins accepting Form 2290 for the 2020-2021 season. And it gets our attention because truck drivers from all over the country have to file and pay their Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT)...

...Or Truck Tax, as we’ve been calling it for more than a decade.

If our truckers have a motor vehicle that weighs more than 55,000 pounds, then they will need to file their 2290. We know this. Our clients, the professional drivers who have maintained and carried on despite the pandemic, know this too.

This tax applies to more than 3 million of those truck drivers.

Part of the crunch that is felt from this tax is due to A.) the sheer number of drivers who need to file and, B.) that every one of those aforementioned drivers will need to file their new returns by August 31, 2020.

Two months. Sixty days. Since the beginning of COVID-19 there have been tax extensions and delays for other tax deadlines, but there has not been one granted for filing Form 2290.

I don’t have to go on about why 2020 has been challenging. Everyone has felt it, and our truckers are no exception. On top of having to provide for themselves and their families during a nationwide shutdown due to a pandemic, they are also forced to file their taxes as normal.

We’re by no means complaining. But this is a time when truckers are either trying to work more due to limited supplies, or maybe they're running more frequently to keep Americans fed and supplied. Behind every stocked shelf there is a truck driver who spends hours on the road and months away from their families to get it there.

What we are saying is that they have a hard job, and we respect them for it.

What we also want to say is this: we are here to help. ExpressTruckTax has been the market leader for Form 2290 e-filing for ten years. This is something we stand behind and are equally as proud of.

To avoid delays, truckers can file with us before June 30th with ExpressTruckTax. After they are completed, they will go to the IRS on July 1st, the first available day to send them. If you’re a trucker on the road, no matter where you are on July 1st, your forms will be going to the IRS.

ExpressTruckTax provides a simplified, interview-style e-filing solution designed to get truckers back on the road as quickly as possible. While you’re doing your job, we’ll be doing ours: making sure your filings get to the IRS early. You’ll be among the first people to receive your proof of payment which is a stamped Schedule 1. And this is a must-have for when you go to register your vehicle.

Part of the reason why we offer e-filing because our truckers move. It’s their job. It’s their life. Time is critical. ExpressTruckTax is a cloud-based solution with 100% US-based support staffed by trained professionals.

No matter where they are, our truckers can stop and e-file their Form 2290 in minutes. That’s efficiency. That’s the solution we offer.

2020 hasn’t been easy for anyone. But we are committed to making your 2290 as stress-free as possible.

Try ExpressTruckTax Today!

 


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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Trucking Industry is Complex and Fascinating

Edward Dzialo 7/01/2020 Be the first to comment!


At SPAN Enterprises, we love truckers. When I was brought into this company, I was overwhelmed by the savvy and dedication it takes to create a financially viable company within the trucking industry. Underinformed, underprepared people who get into this business will not be in it for too long. On the surface, it looks simple. But it’s complex. Just to discover the hidden costs of transporting something from one place to another requires significant research and understanding.

As someone who supports the trucking industry, I am always eager to learn about the business from the people within it. As Stephen Covey has stated, always try to understand before being understood. I’ve heard stories about trucks shutting themselves down because their drivers tried to push beyond the 14-hour rule. Another one I heard was about a driver who repeatedly refused to stop in Kentucky for fuel so his company received a significant bill from that very same state for the highway use tax. Had he stopped for gas when it was needed, the taxes would’ve been lower.

Anyway, maybe these stories seem small, but they are glimpses into an industry that most people know very little about. How many trucks have you seen on the road? We seem to be surrounded by the trucking industry without ever knowing how dynamic and challenging the business is. Sadly, maybe people take it for granted.

We do not. And when the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to shut down, truckers kept moving. They had to. Had they stopped, the role of the trucker within our economy would become glaringly obvious.

As an employee at SPAN Enterprises, I am a supporter of the trucking industry—it’s a part of who we are. And as an individual, I am proud of the service we provide to an industry that our country so heavily relies on, whether they know it or not.

When I saw this morning that the US taxpayer bought ownership in a trucking firm, it got my attention. 

I’ll explain that: The US Treasury Department announced on 1 July 2020, that it will loan $700 million to a trucking company who ships military equipment. The most interesting part? The US Treasury, and by extension, the US taxpayer, now owns 29.6% of it.

Several details about this make it a unique deal and situation. For one, the trucking firm, YRC, was worth $70 million before the government intervened. Secondly, YRC was, by all accounts, struggling. Their stock had dropped by 27% this year. Over the last years, it had dropped by 85%.

If you recall, the CARES Act included money that was meant to be used to help small businesses survive the pandemic. This $700 million was NOT part of it. Then how did YRC get the money? It was because of what they were transporting.

According to CNN, YRC “...provides a majority of the trucking services moving pallet-sized shipments of freight for the US military, a segment of the industry known as ‘less-than-truckload’ or LTL.”

And the last particularly strange detail of this is that YRC was sued by the US government in 2018 because they were overcharging the Defense Department for their shipments. The civil complaint states that YRC “reweighed thousands of shipments and suppressed the results whenever they indicated that a shipment was actually lighter than its original estimated weight.” This was done over a period of seven years and cost the government (and the US taxpayer) millions of dollars.

Going back to the start of this article, I pointed out that we at SPAN Enterprises devote part of our business to supporting truckers. And we are very proud of that. I also pointed out the complexities of the industry, and the deal with YRC can certainly serve a testament to that.

Lastly, I want to end on a positive note: most of that money (about half) is going towards covering short-term contractual obligations, pensions, and healthcare benefits for the truckers who help keep grocery stores and other essential businesses stocked during a very difficult time in our country’s history.

We here at SPAN Enterprises will continue to support the trucking industry in every way we can. One of our contributions to them is helping out with their Form 2290s through ExpressTruckTax. The 2020-2021 Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) Form 2290 filing deadline is August 31, 2020.

Need help? Try ExpressTruckTax today and please call with any questions.


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Friday, June 26, 2020

The Secret Risks of Being In The Trucking Industry That You Need to Know

Edward Dzialo 6/26/2020 Be the first to comment!


Trucking is like any other industry because it takes an incredible amount of work and planning to be successful inside of it. Without understanding the industry, it can seem like it has a low barrier of entry. For example, if someone didn’t take the time to comprehend the business, the taxes, the operational costs, the profit margins, then it would appear, albeit falsely, that to be a trucker, all you’d need is a truck and load to transport.

Don’t underestimate the complexities of the industry. Anyone who thinks the business is that simple could easily find themself in a position where they owed more money than they made each month. Imagine driving 12-14 hours a day, successfully delivering a load safely and on time, and still having zero profits.

We don’t want this. At SPAN Enterprises, we love truckers; we support them. That’s why I want to go over some of the complexities of the business so you can account for them BEFORE you find yourself financially underwater. And because I never like to outline a problem without suggesting a solution, I will explain how we can help you negotiate the obstacles you’ll encounter in this business.

Lease Wisely

I wanted to go over this one first because of how tempting it can seem. I’m not saying to not enter the business by leasing a truck, but do so armed with the right questions.

After a casual internet search, you can discover that a trucker, on average, will gross between $100,000-$150,000 a year. To chase profit, you’ll quickly look into trucks. A new one, one capable of pulling larger loads with a sleeper cabin, could run you upwards of $200,000.

To pay for it, you opt into a lease-to-own program. Maybe the company who is leasing the truck to you offers to give you loads to transport. So now you have a truck and means to pay it off.

The pitfall here is that you are beholden to the people loaning you money for you to be able to transport loads. I am not advocating or condemning this, but I do want you to understand the possible pros and cons of each option.

Company Driver

Maybe after reading that you’ll decide to play it safe by choosing to work for someone. You won’t have to buy a truck because you’ll be using someone else’s. You’ll have responsibilities, but all the compliance requirements will be on the company.

The trucking industry is a vital part of our economy, so there is ample opportunity here as well.

With little risk also comes little reward. For example, as a new driver, you won’t have seniority. Better routes and schedules will likely go to more experienced drivers who have been at the company longer. You’re there to execute decisions that are being made for you: the clients, the loads. Your earning potential might be lower than you’d expected because of it.

Owner Operator

Unlike the previous example, as an Owner Operator, you make the decisions and execute them as well. You are free to fail or succeed based on your drive and work ethic.

And these are just two of the qualities you’ll need to possess to be successful as an Owner Operator. There are a whole number of responsibilities and decisions that you will have to navigate through.

All of the decisions will be yours to make. And I mean all of them: the type of truck you buy, your work schedule, the routes you use, your clients and vendors, and how you manage profits (all are yours).

Although it can be burdensome, you are going to have a tremendous amount of responsibility. Your ability to rise to the occasion will dictate if you succeed or fail.

The amount of money it takes to start is significant. In addition to being a truck driver, you are now your own CEO/CFO. Not only will you need to shape and sculpt your vision for success, but you’ll need to have phone calls, answer emails, cultivate business relationships, and manage your finances.

If you get hurt or sick, how will your business continue? The repairs and preventative maintenance schedule will be yours to map out. Compliance (something we mentioned before) will be on you. This isn’t just compliance with the IRS, but if you’re transporting food, federal laws outline your legal obligations when doing so.

Build a Plan

Just because being an Owner Operator is incredibly difficult doesn’t mean it’s something you should outright reject or avoid. Maybe the challenge is what attracts you the most to it.

Get a plan. Get a good one. Stack the deck in your favor.

Before you do anything, decide on what type of trucking you intend to get into. There are vast differences between moving cement and food. The nature of the business you are in will highlight the financial costs and potential gains to be made.

You need to know how much money you have or can get. The reason I bring this up is because we need to look at the expenses. These are not meant to be deterrents. These are hurdles that you will face. Plan for them now so they don’t sideswipe you later on. 

Here are some: road use taxes, fuel taxes, repairs, preventative maintenance, fuel, personal taxes, insurance, financing your truck.

Your ability to manage these costs (and the unforeseen ones) will make or break you. When, and only when, you have a budget, you’ll be in a position to know exactly how much money you need to make each month to generate a profit.

When you see the loads that are available for you to transport, you will see how much each one pays and how far you’ll have to go. How much will you make per mile? How much is it going to cost you per mile? Without knowing this you cannot pick the right loads that you will meet your business needs.

Remember when I said I wouldn’t present a problem without a solution, well, here it is: TruckLogics. This will be your best friend, your closest ally, your most trusted tool. This will allow you to see and manage your profits and losses.

Just knowing you need maintenance is not enough; you need to know when to do it. Don’t take your truck off the road during your most profitable months. When you know what is coming in versus what is going out, then you can pick the size of the load and the distance.

Plan months in advance with efficiency and ease.

Try TruckLogics Today!



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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

How ExpressTruckTax Is a Solution For You

Edward Dzialo 6/17/2020 Be the first to comment!

The 2020-2021 Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) Form 2290 filing deadline is August 31, 2020. It’s coming fast. As challenging as 2020 has been for our country—for our planet, it hasn’t made the time go by any slower. Maybe you’d forgotten about Form 2290. With as many things that are happening, I wouldn’t and couldn’t blame you. 


However, the deadline still looms. But I had a mentor once who told me to never present a problem without a suggested solution. If you need help with your Form 2290, use ExpressTruckTax. 


If you can fill out the information (for example things like each truck’s 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number and gross weight), we can do the rest. 


Why ExpressTruckTax?


I could speak to all of the ExpressTruckTax’s benefits, and I have done as much in previous posts. But I am going to offer a new reason as to why you should use ExpressTruckTax when filing your Form 2290: We are the only provider with a proven track record of success in other areas. 


Why Is This Important?


Imagine that you are going to an office for a business meeting. When you get there, you see messy desks, cords in tangled piles, and there’s visible dust on the window sills. Although none of these things speak directly to the quality of the business, it will likely influence your opinion of it.


Why? Because when you notice that small details are being overlooked, you begin to wonder what else are they not paying attention to. Small details matter because they speak to your focus, your commitment to doing things the right way.


Along with ExpressTruckTax, SPAN Enterprises has a multitude of other products: PayWow, 123PayStubs, ACAWise, TruckLogics, Truck Services of North America, and others. 


You cannot create this many products by avoiding the small details. When you use one of our products, you get our ten-year history and experience. Remember those small details we talked about earlier? We don’t miss those. Our track record speaks to it. 


How Does This Help Me?


In a multitude of ways. For instance, if you have a question, we’ve likely heard it before. Just because it may be a common question doesn’t make it any less important. Our trained support staff is here at your disposal. Our help will just be delivered that much quicker.


Our diversified product range stands alongside our commitment to excellence and our devotion to our clients. Also, there are many direct benefits to you. For instance, Truck Services of North America is the #1 US-based Form 2290 provider. Instead of e-filing, it is done over the phone—an important detail if you’re a trucker who spends months at a time on the road.


Should your needs change, you will be able to find a different product but one that comes with the care and support that you’ve come to rely on and expect.


If you are a truck driver who is expanding and is hiring contractors, then you can use 123PayStubs, a very simple and efficient payment method. Again, as your needs change, you have the support of a company with a proven record behind you. 


Try ExpressTruckTax to file your Form 2290 today!







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