Each state/province collects fuel taxes based on the miles traveled in each state/province. The federal government mandated that all states/provinces belong to IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) which allows your base state/province to collect the taxes due to each state/province and disperse them to other states/provinces based on your report. It is required that every "qualified" motor vehicle maintain records of this information using a trip report or similar form. A fuel tax return needs to be made every quarter, whether there was activity or not.

A trip report is a record of the activity of a qualified motor vehicle. A trip report must include the following information:

  • Date of trip (starting and ending)
  • Trip origin and destination
  • Route of travel
  • Beginning and ending odometer reading of trip
  • Total trip miles/kilometers
  • Miles/kilometer by jurisdiction
  • Unit number or vehicle identification number
  • Vehicle fleet number
  • Registrant's name
  • Any additional information required by base jurisdiction

Trip reports need to be kept for four years for IFTA requirements, but if the same records are used to fulfill IRP requirements, they need to be kept for seven years.

A qualified motor vehicle means a motor vehicle used, designed or maintained for transportation of persons or property and:

  • Having two axles and a gross vehicle weight or registered gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,000 or 11, 797 kilograms; or
  • Having 3 or more axles regardless of weight: or
  • Used in combination, when such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms

This definition refers to fuel taxes only and is not applicable to U.S. DOT requirements.

This does not include recreational vehicles.

Any person based in a member jurisdiction operating a qualified motor vehicle in two or more member jurisdictions is required to have a license.

The U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) states that the motor carrier is liable for violations whether the motor carrier knew of the violations or not, because the motor carrier should have known. The only way to know if violations exist is to do an audit. The motor carrier is liable for the actions of its employees also.


All motor carriers authorized to engage in interstate transportation of passengers or property are required to register with their base state. A copy of the RS3 receipt must be kept in all vehicles registered under SSRS. This registration is not to be confused with the registration of the motor vehicle under IRP (International Registration Program). SSRS is the registration of your authority and insurance with your base state; IRP is the motor vehicle registration of your truck(s).

If you are transporting passengers or property in Interstate Commerce, you need Operating Authority. Interstate Commerce is determined by the following:

  • Hauling commodities, across state/province lines
  • Loading commodities from a shipyard or airport to be delivered anywhere outside of the area called "the Commercial Zone" (pickups and deliveries totally inside a Commercial Zone is completely exempt from any operating authority)
  • Hauling commodities that ‘originated' by shipper from another state/province, even if shipment is picked up and delivered entirely within your state/province, for example: a shipper in Florida gives a shipment to a cargo ship for delivery in Los Angeles, CA, is then picked up and delivered to Seattle, WA to be picked up by you, the owner operator in WA, to be delivered to its destination in Spokane. You are part of the Interstate shipment, no matter where the delivery destination is.

If you are a for-hire motor carrier transporting passengers or property totally within a state's boundaries, never crossing the boundaries into another state/province for any reason, the answer is yes if that state/province requires intrastate authority. Each state/province has different regulations and requirements. Call us to determine what the requirements are.

If you are:

Hauling ‘exempt' commodities for Interstate movement you do not need operating authority. There are a number of exemptions available to interstate motor carriers. Most common are:

  • Produce - UNPROCESSED other than washed and grading and the like
  • Lumber - UNPROCESSED other than fresh cut
  • Air Freight- any shipment having a prior OR subsequent movement by air is also exempt
  • Christmas Trees


  • Produce - processed; grown outside the United States
  • Lumber - processed

There are many more exemptions to numerous to mention here, calling us will clarify whether you qualify as an exempt carrier or not. If you hold an Interstate Carrier Permit, whatever exemptions may be available do not matter, they only matter if you do NOT have interstate authority.


A number of states/provinces do not require operating authority for transporting goods in intrastate commerce. Each state/province has its own regulations regarding intrastate authority. Call us or each individual state/province to determine what the requirements are for an Intrastate carrier.

Anyone who operates a commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight over 10,001 lbs. is required to have a USDOT number.