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IRP Annual Meeting 2015: Day 2

May 20, 2015

Written by Casey Jenkins

2015 IRP Annual Meeting – Day 2: Tuesday May 19, 2015

This morning started off with a welcome from Lynn Riley the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Revenue and the lovely mayor of Savannah, the Honorable Edna Branch Jackson. They were both charming ladies who graciously thanked us for coming to Georgia, and encouraged our efforts to serve the trucking industry.

Then we moved onto a roll call, and while this could have been a tedious process, it was funny; punctuated with more laughs and smiles than anything else. This is a group of people who (in my experience) consider themselves privileged to serve the industry, and to come together to help each other do a job that is vital to economy of both the US and Canada. As Tim Adams says, “we’re all friends here.”

IRP 2015 Strategic Plan

The IRP Strategic Plan was next on the agenda, and one of the expected outcomes had to do with improving customer service. This concept is one I see brought up again and again, by people with the power to actively influence the community.

After that we broke up into groups to discuss three hot topics:

  1. IRP IT and Data Services 10 Year Plan
  2. Implementation of Full Reciprocity Plan (FRP)
  3. Implementation of Charter Bus Ballot

IRP IT and Data Services 10 Year Plan

The IT and Data Services Committee presented the 5 projects they see as necessary for their 10 year plan. There was good discussion about the projects they presented and a general consensus about what was the most desirable project.

After they took their vote about what project the room thought was most important, they opened up discussion about any other projects jurisdictions and industry thought might be helpful. I brought up getting the 2290 information transmitted electronically to the IRP Clearinghouse so that verification of the Stamped Schedule 1 can be done electronically. The room was VERY interested in this, as long as:

  1. Participation in the project is voluntary
  2. Both the states and carriers are protected from both IRS and Federal Highway audits.
  3. The taxpayer data is used for the purpose of registration only and nothing else, and in accordance with federal law and taxpayer consent.

2290Tax will work closely with the jurisdictions to get the best possible answer to these and any other questions that arise. Here at 2290Tax we care very deeply about data security and audit protection.

To learn more about the IT and DATA Services Committee see yesterdays article where I sat in on their committee meeting.

Implementation of Full Reciprocity Plan (FRP)

This is the first IRP meeting since the implementation of FRP this January. FRP was a change made to IRP with the goal to make commercial trucking more fair, equitable and easy.

The basics – IRP cab cards now have all the US States and Canadian provinces (collectively called jurisdictions) on them regardless of where the carrier travels. This allows carriers to travel more freely and with fewer updates to their cab card. Fees are charged in arrears based on actual travel.

This transition period (especially for states that have staggered registration) has had some sticky spots. Questions about insurance, about whether the vehicle is eligible to be apportioned, and explaining to small carriers how the fee structure works are all examples. Overall, it seems this new plan has been well received.

Implementation of the Charter Bus Ballot

The ballot says that any for hire charter bus over 26,000 pounds traveling interstate will be required to have apportioned IRP registration beginning Jan 1, 2016. Base plate registration will no longer be accepted for charter buses that meet this criterion.

This means change is coming to the Charter Bus World. Victor Parra, CEO of the United Motorcoach Association came to provide an industry perspective on what is needed to make the transition go smoothly. Parra says we’re, “changing behaviors,” and need to, “start the outreach,” and notification now. Early education for these carriers, and an expert at each local tag office who can answer the tough questions will go a long way to making this change easier on the carriers.

Discussion referenced the difficulties in understanding the proper way to register, the definition of “For Hire,” and “commercial applications,” why non-profit organizations buses would or wouldn’t have a DOT number, and how seats, weights and ownership all play a role in the calculation of registration.

You can visit the IRP website here for more details: IRP  Virtual Roundtable 

The energy in the room was focused on getting answers, and serving the carriers but there was frustration too, because everything isn’t perfectly clear yet.

IRP and IFTA Ballots

The short story is that in order for ANY change to be made to the IRP and IFTA plans they have to be written up on ballots for voting.

The details of ballots are often minute and semantic in nature. Auditors are detail-oriented people, who depend on these documents to dictate day-to-day operations. They are paying very close attention. The use of words like, “must,” “should,” and “may” always draw questions of interpretation and intention.

Time is given at these meetings to go through these ballots, get feedback, answer questions, and hopefully convince people to vote for updates and changes to the plan. These can be real hot button issues, as they change the way jurisdictions do their work, and getting ALL the states to agree on anything can be difficult.