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Tax Deductions for Truck Drivers

By February 24, 2016April 26th, 2019No Comments

Did you know that truckers can usually deduct more than 100 items from their taxes? The IRS recognizes truck drivers take on an unusual amount of business expenses and offer multiple tax deductions. With tax season now in full swing, we here at Truck Writers want to make sure all truckers are aware of these possible tax breaks.

Before we get started, please note that each tax situation is unique. This article is not intended to give specific tax-related advice, so please speak to a licensed tax or accounting professional for more detailed information.

Per Diem Deductions

Certain truck drivers can qualify for Per Diem deductions, or those associated with lodging (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses. In order to take these deductions, you must itemize versus taking the standard deduction. Additionally, you must be an over the road trucker who spends nights away from home. To calculate your Per Diem rate, please click here.

Tax Deductible Expenses

Owner operators can usually deduct any expenses incurred to earn their income; however, company drivers are limited to non-reimbursed expenses required by their employer.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to claim too much and ending up with an audit. Remember, a good rule of thumb for deductions is any expense incurred that is necessary or required in the performance of your job and/or operation of the truck, but NOT reimbursed by your company. According to the Truckers Report, such expenses might include:

  • Access Fees
    • Internet (Cell phone data plans)
    • Satellite (SiriusXM)
  • Administrative Fees
    • ATM Fees
    • Check Reorder Fees
  • Association Dues
    • Minnesota Trucking Association, American Trucking Association, Women in Trucking, etc.
  • ComData/ComCheck Fees
    • Computer Software
    • Credit Card Fees
  • Cleaning Supplies
    • Window cleaner
    • Portable Vacuum
    • Trash Bags
    • Paper Towels
    • RainX
  • Interest
    • Business Loan
    • Credit Card
  • Office Supplies
    • Pens, Paperclips, Envelopes, etc.
  • Medical Exams
    • DOT Physical
    • Drug Tests
    • Sleep Apnea Study
  • Postage Fees
    • Mailing Invoices
    • Bills of Lading
  • Real Estate Expenses
    • Mortgage Interest
    • Penalties of early withdrawals
    • Real Estate Taxes
  • Safety Gear
    • Steel-toe boots
    • Work Gloves
    • Cargo Straps
    • Wide Load Flags
  • Tools
    • Duct Tape
    • Flashlight
    • Hammer
    • Screwdrivers
    • Wrenches
  • Trucking & Business Related Subscriptions
    • Load board subscriber fees
    • Trucking industry magazines (i.e., Transport Topics)
  • Uniforms
    • Dry cleaning costs

Non-Deductible Truck Driver Expenses

  • Expenses reimbursed by your employer
  • Clothing adaptable for everyday use
  • Commuting costs (tolls, gas, parking)
  • Interest on person loans
  • Personal vaccinations
  • Expenses incurred by a non-truck driver passenger (i.e., passenger’s lunch if not part of your drive team)

Attention Owner Operators

  • You CANNOT deduct the time you incur from working on your own equipment
  • You CANNOT deduct the income lost as a result of deadhead/unpaid mileage, ONLY the expense incurred to operate the truck during that time such as fuel, tolls and scales
  • You CANNOT deduct for downtime

We do not claim to be tax experts, but we are truck insurance experts. Please contact us today to receive free trucking insurance advice or a personalized trucking quote.

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