Tax Help for Truckers
Tax time is especially stressful for truck drivers because they are often away from home and may not have all of the information they need to file on the road with them. Over-the-road truck drivers must also be aware of allowances and deductions available to them that do not apply to workers in any other industry. Owner/operators have even more responsibility when it comes to taxes because they are running trucking companies as well as driving their own trucks. Truckers should choose a tax preparer that specializes in preparing taxes for people who have truck driving jobs to ensure that they receive every deduction available to them.
Keeping neat records is essential to a stress free tax season. It is very important for truck drivers to keep daily records and receipts so that their tax preparer doesn't have to ask them for additional information when their taxes are being prepared. These records, including accurate logbooks, will prove the number of days that people with truck driving jobs spent away from home in case of audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Truck drivers are allowed to deduct per diem for every day they spent away from home during the previous year as long as they were trucking the entire time during their trip. Saving every receipt ensures that the driver will be able to deduct all applicable expenses.
Another tax issue that is unique to trucking companies and their drivers is that many truckers live in their trucks and don't have a permanent home. Drivers may only deduct travel expenses if they have a physical address, post office boxes are not acceptable for tax purposes. You may only use a friend or relative's address legally if you pay that person the approximate amount that you would pay for a room in their area and spend time in that area during your off time. Drivers who stay in their trucks full time are not eligible for travel expense deductions according to the IRS.
Taxes are confusing for most Americans, and people who work in the trucking industry often find them especially confusing. Doing taxes yourself can help you save money, but it is essential that you keep track of all deductions to make sure that you pay the smallest amount of taxes you legally can. Another downfall of doing your own taxes is that you will be solely responsible if you are audited. Most companies that prepare taxes for truckers will back you up if you are audited and make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.