Filing taxes is never a pleasant event, but it is necessary. Most owner operators have a variety of expenses they incur during the course of their business that they can deduct. Taking these deductions means that you as an owner/operator could end up paying less income tax. Let’s look at some common deductions for truck drivers
First, you will be able to depreciate the value of your truck over the course of several years. The amount you can take depends on the purchase price of the equipment. If you sell a truck or trailer during the year you should know that you will have to count that as income because you have already taken some of the depreciation on the equipment. You should also be able to deduct the interest you pay on your truck payments and trailer payments. However, you aren’t allowed to deduct the actual payments.
Next, there are the tolls and fees for scales that truck drivers have to pay along their routes. These fees can be deducted as well. Make sure you keep track of what you pay for showers, truck parts, maintenance, and repairs. All of these items are deductible. You don’t need to keep your receipts for meals because the government gives you a per diem rate that you can claim. However, you do need to make sure you keep track of the number of days you are out on the road so that you can figure the deduction.
Clothing can’t be deducted unless it is specifically for work related services. For example, you can claim a bright orange vest and a hard hat that are required to be in a construction zone for which you may be delivering materials. However, you can’t claim your jeans, tennis shoes, and shirts because they aren’t considered to be a required uniform for work. You also can’t claim any traffic tickets or attorney fees you have to pay. Often, truck drivers try to deduct these expenses on their tax return. The result is they end up getting a bill from the IRS telling them they owe more money. Fuel is the most common expense that truck drivers incur. Make sure you keep a close eye on those receipts because each one will likely be worth $100 or more. Losing these different receipts can really add up during the course of a year, and that means you will have to pay more income tax.
Just be careful that you understand that there is a line between what is necessary vs. what is a luxury. Also, consult a tax professional if you have any doubts as to what you can deduct. If you are seeking a way to make your trips more fuel efficient, consider an auxiliary power unit. We sell these fuel saving devices and specialize in auxiliary power unit maintenance.