Zonar and ITS Compliance believe construction fleets shouldn’t leave so much money on the table when they may be eligible for sizeable fuel tax refunds from state and federal governments.

“Every year, just before April 15, millions of taxpayers use a standard deduction or itemize their deductions to claim more than $1 trillion worth of tax reductions,” says John Vosters, vice president of business development for ITS Compliance. “Just as taxpayers use tax preparation software technology and expertise to maximize their deductions and refunds, more construction fleets can use telematics technology to maximize their claims to tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars over years, in potential off-road fuel tax refunds.”

Dan Fehrenbacher, sales solution engineering manager for Zonar, says effective telematics platforms like those offered by Zonar can help contractors and construction fleets gain significant operational efficiencies. Fleets and contractors can track shipments and deliveries; monitor vehicles and equipment; monitor operator and driver performance, and maintain accountability for the condition of vehicles and equipment through vehicle inspection reporting, Fehrenbacher said.

And by working with a fuel tax reporting partner like ITS Compliance, Fehrenbacher says fleets and contractors can set up a fuel tax recovery program using some of the same data gathered to improve their fleet operations. Through this program, contractors and fleets maximize fuel tax re-imbursements associated with the operations of off-highway vehicles or equipment and PTOs. For example, with a switch installed on the telematics platform, drivers or operators can track when the PTO is engaged. The telematics platform can also keep track of when off-road equipment is used and when it’s refueled.

“We can set up an RFID tag on the off-road equipment next to the fuel tank,” Fehrenbacher says. “The operator scans the RFID tag with a Zonar 2020 tablet or a Zonar Electronic Vehicle Inspection Reporting handheld immediately prior to refueling. The system automatically notes the date, time and location of refueling. The driver or operator can then enter in the fuel quantity.”

Vosters said fleets can use this telematics information to develop much more accurate fuel tax recovery recordkeeping and reporting integrity, which can provide the documentation required in applications for state fuel tax reimbursements. Many states don’t require fuel taxes to be paid on fuel that’s burned off-road vehicles or equipment, he added. Many states also offer fuel tax refunds or credits for PTO use in certain circumstances, to include stationary equipment and/or while the truck is in motion, such as agitators on bulk transportation trailers or spreaders on tank trucks.