When tax time arrives, it certainly pays to be a well-organized and knowledgeable truck driver.
Understanding the huge array of tax deductions available to you as a truck driver, and keeping track of your expenses throughout the year can go a long way toward your tax deductions.
If you’re missing out on the long list of expenses you can be writing off, we’re here to help with some information to keep in mind throughout the year.
First, an explanation…
Standard and itemized tax deductions are different. We’re going to provide you with a long list of items you can deduct if you aren’t using a standardized deduction.
A standard tax deduction is a flat amount you can subtract to reduce your overall tax bill. This deduction depends on your age, filing status and other considerations. It’s not as much of a daily hassle when compared to itemized deductions and can result in a larger deduction.
Itemized tax deductions are expenses you keep track of throughout the year in order to write off. So if you haven’t done that, get yourself an organizer you can start carrying around on the road to file as you go. And make it a habit.
Obviously, you want to choose the deduction that’s going to get you the most money. However, you might be surprised at the long list of itemized deductions truckers can claim.
Truck drivers are able to claim everything from mileage to meals, to hotel bills to truck repair and even union dues. Note: Local truck drivers normally can’t claim travel expenses.
Along with those items just mentioned, here’s a quick overview of some of the things drivers can deduct from their taxes.
— Access fees like Internet (cell phone, data plans) and satellite (Sirius/XM).
— Administrative fees such as ATM fees, credit card fees, check reorder fees, postage fees and real estate expenses.
— Cleaning supplies such as window cleaner, paper towels and RainX.
— Standard office supplies like pens, pencils and envelopes.
— Medical exams: Physicals, drug tests, sleep apnea studies.
— Safety gear and clothes: Work gloves, steel-toe boots, helmets, uniforms and dry cleaning.
— Subscriptions to business-related magazines and load board fees.
Make sure you don’t go overboard and get audited. There are things you can’t deduct.
— Anything reimbursed by your employer.
— There are limits on items that you would use for personal reasons (repurposed clothes, phones, laptops, internet fees). For instance: Internet fees, laptops and phones can only be deducted up to 50 percent in most cases.
— Owner-Operators also are restricted from deducting anything that happens during downtime or working on their own equipment. Only expenses that happen while you are operating your truck are eligible.
Keep in mind, everyone’s tax situation is different. This isn’t intended as specific advice, just overall ideas you can use when it comes time to filling out those tax forms. For specific information, make sure you consult with a licensed professional for advice on your particular situation.
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— Sources: North Dixie Truck and Trailer, Inc.; IRS.gov; TaxSlayer.com; cb39.org