,A popular quote by Benjamin Franklin is that the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes. For as common as taxes are, a lot of people struggle to understand them. But did you know that a lot of things you purchase while on the road are tax-deductible? You might want to pump the brakes on your next tax break once you find out what you’re allowed to claim. It just may save you a lot of hassle! So when it comes to filing taxes next year, you should make sure that you know what to include. Hint: you should probably save your receipts! Below, we’ll cover some common truck driver tax deductions to ensure you’re getting the money you deserve.
Truck Driver Tax Deductions
Who Can Claim?
First, let’s go over who can make these claims. Do they apply to drivers working for companies or self-employed owner-operators? Only some of the tax breaks apply to self-employed drivers. Also, local drivers can’t claim. Another rule is that you can’t claim anything that your employer reimburses you for. In order to claim, you must have a tax home. This is a permanent location where the IRS can contact you. A tax home is most often a home address, but this is not always the case.
Cellphone Plans & Internet Fees
Most truck drivers need mobile phones and laptops equipped with wireless internet to do their jobs. But, these tools are really beneficial to a driver’s personal life as well. Drivers can only deduct up to 50% of access fees cost. However, the entire cost of their phone or computer is deductible. Truckers spend a lot of time communicating with people while they’re on the road, so this is a great of example of why truck driver tax deductions are important.
If you’ve had to visit a medical practitioner for a work-related issue, you can also deduct any out-of-pocket expenses you had to pay. Typically, medical expenses would require a minimum cost before any tax deductions could be made. You should also note that these visits are considered business expenses, not medical expenses. Your health as a truck driver is important. So, it’s good to know that you can get some money back through these truck driver tax deductions.
Are you ready for more good news? You can claim all the costs of obtaining and maintaining your CDL! And, if an employer requests you continue education, all those extra costs are deductible as well. This is perfect for company jobs that will offer to pay for schooling.
Food on the road
Whenever you eat away from home, you’ll receive a per diem rate for these expenses. That means that every day you had to buy meals while on the road, you are entitled to a $59 deduction. You’ll be collecting a lot of receipts, so make sure you’re keeping things organized.
It doesn’t matter if you own your own truck or drive for an employer, any expenses for cleaning or maintaining the truck are deductible. This includes cleaning supplies, truck parts, repairs, tires, and batteries. When it comes to truck driver tax deductions, these costs can really add up.
A lot of drivers are a part of trucking groups or unions. All the dues and additional membership costs for these groups are deductible. In fact, even memberships you join on your own can be reimbursed. However, this is only the case if you can confirm that these activities help you improve your job performance.
So, what exactly qualifies as a travel expense? A few examples are toll booth costs, parking fees, food, lodging, and postage costs to send mail to your employer. Some of these expenses could overlap with some of your other deductions.
If you’re new to trucking, there are a lot of necessities you probably haven’t thought about. It includes cleaning supplies (paper towels, portable vacuum, trash bags, window cleaner), electronics (CB radio, GPS, phone), tools (duct tape, electrical tape, flashlights, hammers, pliers, tire iron, wrenches), miscellaneous supplies (alarm clock, bedding, coffee maker, mini-fridge, first aid supplies, Tupperware), protective clothing (boots, hard hat, rain gear, safety glasses, gloves), clothing maintenance products (hangers, laundry soap), office supplies (clipboard, logbooks, maps, calculator), and load costs (bungee cords, chains, straps, locks, wide load flag). Be sure to keep track of all of these expenses, many of them will be deductible as long as they clearly relate to your job!
If you’re paying over $100 out of pocket for gasoline and not getting reimbursed, you can deduct the cost. As fuel prices continue to fluctuate, this is a very important tip to consider.
If you’re unsure of what qualifies for truck driver tax deductions, consult with a licensed tax professional! We also have a Big Rig Banter podcast which will covers taxes for truckers. Feel free to comment below if you have any other questions for us!