Taxes are confusing for everyone, but some people may have it harder depending on their industry, and unfortunately for truck drivers this is often the case. Special requirements, restrictions, and vastly unique tax returns can make it confusing when trying to file. Challenging as it may seem, we have a few important tips and items to be aware of that will make this year’s filing that much easier on you.
Whether you’re an owner-operator or working under a carrier, there are quite a few deductions you can make. Want to make sure you’re good to go come tax day? Here’s what you need to know.
Before going any further, we want to stress the importance of a tax home. Certain deductions won’t be permitted unless a tax home is claimed. A tax home is defined by the IRS as the general locality where you work. This could be a dispatch center or base, but if it’s a residential address, you must be sure that you help maintain the property while on the road otherwise this claim is invalid.
As you start prepping for tax day, be sure you square away a tax home before moving forward.
The list of possible deductions is quite long, but we’ll spotlight the more important and unclear options to help you stay organized with your tax return.
- Business-Related Loans and Mortgages: Interest payments can be deducted.
- Casualty Financial Losses: Did you suffer an accident this year? Or were your trucks damaged from another event, such as extreme weather? These expenses can be written off.
- Satellite Radio: Because many truckers often use satellite radio for weather and traffic information the subscription fees are deductible.
- Truck Maintenance: Any out of pocket payments made for maintenance (oil changes, new tires, cleaning supplies) or supplies can be deducted. However, if your employer has already reimbursed you, you can’t deduct it.
- Sleeper Berth: If you use a sleeper berth, many of the accompanying accessories like bedding, cab curtains, even an alarm clock are all legitimate to write off.
- Depreciated Property: Equipment like trucks, trailers, computers, etc. can all be deducted if used for your business.
- Fuel: Out of pocket payments and fuel card fees can be deducted.
- Per Diem Costs: Meals, lodging, and other expenses while on the road are deductible to a certain point. Remember, you can’t deduct any expenses that have already been reimbursed by a carrier.
- Work-Related Fees: Common work-related fees include, but aren’t limited to, items like drug testing, driver license renewal fees, DOT physical exams, and even sleep apnea study costs.
- Job Hunting Costs: This item isn’t actually deductible, but it used to be. As of 2018 costs associated with looking for a job are no longer deductible, so if you have used this in the past be aware moving forward so you don’t get in trouble.
Throughout the year, you should be holding on to receipts and other expense records to make taxes easier. Keep these deductions in mind so that you can maximize your tax refund. Here are a few more helpful tips to keep in mind as you get ready for April 15.
Don’t Forget This When Filing Taxes
- Never put expenses that your employer has reimbursed.
- Keep an organized record of your receipts in case of an IRS audit.
- Look into available tax credits like the adoption credit, energy credit, and The American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits.
While there are tons of tax software available, if you have doubts, it’s always best to consult a tax professional. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to deduct expenses and be wary of over-claiming others.
If you’re a truck driver, we have endless resources that can make your job easier. Just head over to our blog page to find other informative posts. We also have various resources to make finances easier for you, like same-day funding with our freight factoring.