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21 May

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Independent Contractor or Employee

May 21, 2014 | By |

The issue of whether an individual may be classified as an independent contractor or employee is increasingly becoming a challenge. Some states are pressuring employers to justify classifications. Learn more by reading this data sheet about the issues.

Read more by viewing the attached PDF.

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Independent Contractor or Employee

21 May

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Got Owner Operators Coverage?

May 21, 2014 | By |

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers!

  • Do you know what coverage to require of Owner Operators and why?
  • Would you like their bobtail policy to cover your deductible if they damage your trailer?
  • Do you spend time chasing renewal certificates of insurance from Owner Operators?

Our bobtail program for fleets will offer you, the motor carrier, the benefits listed in this PDF.

Read more by viewing the attached PDF.

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Got Owner Operators Coverage

21 May

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Garage Keepers Coverage

May 21, 2014 | By |

If you run a shop, do some towing, or allow other truckers to park on your premises, you may be held legally liable for loss to a non-owned auto. Learn more about these loss situations and coverage options to protect your business.

Read more by viewing the attached PDF.

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Garage Keepers Coverage

21 May

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Drug and Alcohol Testing

May 21, 2014 | By |

When is a drug test needed? Did the accident involve your CMV? Did the accident occur on a public road? Was someone cited for a moving traffic violation? There are many factors involved.

Read more by viewing the attached PDF.

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Drug and Alcohol Testing

21 May

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Constructive Total Loss

May 21, 2014 | By |

Have you heard of the term “constructive total loss”? You will never forget it if you ever have one!

Read more by viewing the attached PDF.

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Constructive_Total_Loss

21 May

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Construction Zone Safety Tips

May 21, 2014 | By |

We are all aware that it is vital we exhibit additional caution while driving through construction zones. The nature of construction zones creates unique challenges to drivers, including increased congestion, poorly marked narrow lanes, frequent and sudden stops, merging traffic and workers who may step into your path.

Do you know the most common reasons for accidents in road construction zones?

Read more by viewing the attached PDF.

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Construction Zone Safety Tips

21 May

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Auxiliary Power Units

May 21, 2014 | By |

With increased fuel costs and changes in idling regulations, many truckers have opted to install auxiliary power units (commonly referred to as APUs) to reduce cost and, in some cases, comply with environmental regulations. This option has raised questions on how to insure the equipment property.

Read more by viewing the attached PDF.

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Auxiliary_Power_Units

 

15 Mar

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FMCSA Threatens Deactivation of USDOT Numbers of Motor Carriers Who Fail to File Biennial Report

March 15, 2014 | By |

Be Aware!  If this is your year to file your biennial report with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), do not be late or your USDOT number may be deactivated.

As a part of the Unified Registration System (URS), the FMCSA requires all motor carriers, even those whose information has not changed, have ceased interstate operations since their last update, or have not notified the USDOT that they are out of business, to update their information on a bi-annual basis.

Back on November 1, 2013, the FMCSA began issuing warning letters to motor carriers 30 days in advance of their biennial update and those letters included a note that motor carriers’ US DOT numbers would be deactivated and warning and noncompliance alerts would be posted in the FMCSA IT system if they failed to comply.  Here is a guideline to help determine the due date of your biennial report:

  • If the SECOND to last number in your USDOT is odd, you are expected to file every odd-numbered calendar year.
  • If the SECOND to last number in your USDOT number is even, you are expected to file every even-number calendar year, including 2014.

Your report will be due by the last day of the month.  To determine the month due, look to the LAST number of your USDOT number and see the listing below:

 USDOT ends in 1 = January

USDOT ends in 2 = February

USDOT ends in 3 = March

USDOT ends in 4 = April

USDOT ends in 5 = May

USDOT ends in 6 = June

USDOT ends in 7 = July

USDOT ends in 8 = August

USDOT ends in 9 = September

USDOT ends in 0 = October

 

To complete your update, visit www.saferfmcsa.dot.gov and click on the FMCSA Registration & Updates link.  You may also login to the FMCSA portal at http://portal.fmcsa.dot.gov/login.  There is no charge for the update, but a credit card and your USDOT PIN will be required.  If you have forgotten your PIN, a new one maybe requested online, using your credit card (again, at no charge.)  The new PIN will be mailed to you.  PIN requests can take the FMCSA 4-7 business days to process, plus transit time – so please plan accordingly.

Do you have any questions regarding your biennial report?  Call our offices at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782) today.  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard to be accessible, helpful and result oriented.

 

05 Dec

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Food for Thought When Making Year-End Charitable Contributions

December 5, 2013 | By |

The following article was originally appeared in Wilber & Townshend P.C.’s November 2013 Newsletter.  It is being reprinted here with their permission.  To view the original article, other Wilber & Townshend newsletters, or inquire about their services, please click here. 

Before slicing into their Thanksgiving turkeys, most Americans pause to give thanks for their good fortune. And, in the spirit of the holidays, many give to those in need. The average charity receives about 40 percent of its annual contributions between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to Charity Navigator, a not-for-profit watchdog organization.

Who’s Giving (and How Much) in 2013?

More than half of individuals (57 percent) plan to donate to charity during the 2013 holiday season, according to a survey by Ask Your Target Market. A closer look found that:

  • 46 percent will make a direct monetary contribution,
  • 64 percent will give to a third party (such as a retailer who collects donations at checkout),
  • 24 percent will give gifts (through such programs as giving trees or adopt-a-family),
  • 63 percent will donate home goods or nonperishable food items, and
  • 22 percent plan to volunteer their time.

Charity Navigator estimates that individuals will donate at least $100 billion to charities during the 2013 holiday season, a level that’s on par with the last few years.

Another charitable gift giving trend worth noting is Giving Tuesday, which will take place on December 3, 2013. Unlike Black Friday or Cyber Monday, which focus on shopping, Giving Tuesday is a day dedicated to making year-end charitable contributions.

Charitable Deductions: IRS Gift to Taxpayers

One of the biggest reasons people decide to open their pocketbooks at year-end — beyond the altruistic spirit of the holidays — is that charitable gifts are tax deductible if you itemize on your tax return. You may generally deduct up to 50 percent of your adjusted gross income — without regard to net operating loss carrybacks — but 20 percent and 30 percent limitations apply in some cases.

If you want a contribution to reduce your 2013 tax bill, you need to act before you ring in the New Year, however. A donation paid by credit card is deductible in 2013 as long as it posts on your statement before Jan. 1, 2104 — even if you don’t actually pay the bill until later in 2014. Payments by check can be deducted in 2013 as long as they’re postmarked by December 31, 2013.

Securing Your Deduction

If you’re audited by the IRS, the tax agency will probably scrutinize your charitable deductions. So, always keep copies of all supporting documents. For example, cash contributions require a bank record or written communication from the charity that details the name of the charity, as well as the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include:

  • Canceled checks,
  • Bank or credit union statements, and
  • Credit card statements.

If you donate cash or property worth $250 or more, ask the charity for a contemporaneous written acknowledgement (in other words, a receipt) that describes the nature of the donation and a good faith estimate of the value of the goods or services.

The value of cash gifts is easily determined, but the value of other goods and services is less clear. All clothing and household items (such as furniture, electronics, appliances and linens) must typically be in “good used” condition (or better). If not and you deduct more than $500 for the item, you must include a “qualified appraisal” with the return.

Deductions of non-cash items worth more than $500 require you to attach a completed IRS Form 8283 with your return. Non-cash property worth more than $5,000 requires you to obtain a qualified appraisal. If an item’s worth more than $500,000, attach a copy of the qualified appraisal to your tax return. Special rules apply for donations of vehicles, boats and planes.

You also can deduct only the fair market value of a donation to the extent that it exceeds the benefits you receive with the donation (for example, if a contribution entitles you to admission to a charity ball or a sporting event).

Additional Due Diligence

Before writing a check or donating new or used items, visit the IRS website to confirm that the recipient is a “qualified” exempt organization. If not, your contribution isn’t tax deductible. Contributions made to foreign organizations — except donations made to certain Canadian not-for-profits — are generally not tax deductible either.

To protect your donations from bogus charities — such as the disaster relief frauds discussed in the above sidebar — also research these three attributes about your preferred charity:

Accountability and transparency. The charity should make it easy for you to research its good deeds and spending habits. Be skeptical of charities that don’t openly share information — including financial records — with stakeholders.

Fiscal health. Charities that know how to effectively solicit donations (think, cash inflows) and are efficiently run (think, cash outflows) have money left over to pursue their goals and reach more of those in need.

Results. Charities have good intentions, but the proof is in the results, not the mission. Talk to volunteers. Visit the organization’s website. See how many activities they’ve organized and people they’ve served over the last year. Testimonials speak volumes about the difference a charity is really making.

Value-Added Gift Giving

Giving to those less fortunate isn’t just emotionally rewarding, it also offers tax benefits, as long as you play by the IRS rules. Consult your tax adviser regarding any questions you have about your year-end charitable gifts.  

26 Nov

By

Giving Back with Trucker Buddy

November 26, 2013 | By |

As we enter into the season of Christmas and Thanksgiving many of us turn our attention to finding ways to give back to show appreciation for all that we have.  If you are one of such individuals, here’s a great program that is uniquely geared to truckers.

Trucker Buddy International started in 1992.  At its core, this program aims to connect professional truck drivers to children in grades K-8 for a pen pal relationship.  Each week drivers share their travels with the class they are assigned to while in return, each student writes a letter to their driver once a month.  This allows the students an opportunity to experience life beyond the classroom while putting their reading, writing, geography, mathematics, social studies and history skills to the test.

One look at the Trucker Buddy International website (www.truckerbuddy.org) and you will see that this is a program teachers love to involve their students in and one that students and drivers both find great value in being apart of.  Are you ready to take part in this exciting program?  Visit their website today, sign up for free and be matched with an available class.

Know of another outreach program allowing truckers an opportunity to give back?  Please call our office at (800) 596-TRUCK (8782).  We’d love to learn about it and potentially feature it in a future President’s Blog.  At the Navigator Truck Insurance Agency we work hard to be accessible, helpful and result-oriented.