Benjamin Franklin is known for saying that the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes. The worst part is how uneducated we are about our taxes. 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 by finding out just what exactly you’re allowed to claim. It just may save you a lot of clams! So when it comes to inevitable and dreaded taxes you’ll file next year, you want to make sure you know what to include. (And hopefully you’ll save the receipts!) Below is a rundown of common truck driver tax deductions so you can ensure you’re getting the money you deserve.
Truck Driver Tax Deductions
Who can claim?
Before we can get into the details of truck driver tax deductions, we need to go over who exactly can make these claims. Drivers working for companies or self-employed owner-operators. However, only some of the tax breaks apply to self-employed drivers. Also, local drivers can’t claim. Plus, 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 (home address) where the IRS can contact you.
Cellphone plans & internet fees
Most truck drivers require mobile phones and laptops equipped with wireless internet as part of their job. But, these are tools that really are beneficial to a driver’s personal life, too. Drivers can only deduct up to 50% of access fees cost. However, the entire cost of the actual phone or computer itself is deductible. You’re gonna be spending a lot of time communicating with people while on the road, so this is a great deduction.
If you are required to visit a medical practitioner for any employment reasons, you can deduct any of the money you had to pay up out-of-pocket. Typically, medical expenses would require a minimum cost before any tax deductions could be made. However, these types of visits are considered a business expense and not a medical expense. Your health is important, and it’s good that you can get some money back as well through these truck driver deductions.
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 those company jobs that will offer to pay for schooling.
Food on the road
If you’re required to eat away from home you receive a per diem rate of currently 80% of $59 a day. That means that for every day you had to eat 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 if you drive for an employer, any expenses relating to cleaning or maintaining the truck is deductible. Included are cleaning supplies, truck parts, repairs, tires, batteries, etc. When it comes to truck driver tax deductions, these can add up.
A lot of drivers have to be part of trucking groups or unions. All the costs of joining things like this are deductible. Plus, even memberships you join on your own can be reimbursed if you can confirm that they help you improve your job performance.
So what exactly can be classified as a travel expense? Things like toll booth costs, parking fees, meals, lodging, postage to send mail to their employer. These will often overlap with some of your other deductions.
There’s a lot of stuff you wouldn’t even think about being a necessity of a trucking job. 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, certain protective clothing (boots, hard hat, rain gear, safety glasses, gloves), clothing maintenance products (hangers, laundry soap), office supplies (clipboard, log books, maps, calculator), and load costs (bungee cords, chains, straps, locks, wide load flag.)
If you’re paying over $100 out of pocket for gasoline and not getting reimbursed, you can deduct the cost.
Note: If you’re not sure what is cool and not cool for drivers to deduct on taxes, consult with a licensed tax professional! If you have any more questions, feel free to comment below!