Tax Tips for Company Drivers and Owner Operators
As an owner operator, company truck driver, or owner of one of the nation’s many trucking companies, paying the correct amount of taxes is essential. Every driver or owner has a specific set of deductions they can claim which range from meals to truck expenses.
It is advisable to hire a professional tax preparer with experience in the trucking industry to handle your taxes. A professional tax preparer will have the knowledge of how the industry works, and what expenses you can correctly claim.
- Keep receipts for fuel expenses, tolls, and vehicle maintenance. This includes repairs, oil changes, new batteries and tire replacement. These expenses are deductible as long as they are for a truck used in commercial purposes.
- Keep all the receipts for expenses incurred in the operation of your trucking business. Don’t be concerned with what is deductible and what is not. Your tax preparer will help make that determination. This includes anything and everything, including home office equipment, laptops, communications equipment, and anything else you purchased.
- Keep track of your travel expenses for food and lodging. Many commercial truck drivers keep a daily log of their lodging and food receipts. You can claim meal expenses up to certain amounts per day. If you make your own meals while on the road, keep your grocery receipts. These may be deductible as well. Compare your actual expenses to the standard meal allowance rate for that year, and take whichever deduction is more advantageous.
- Keep a record of the number of miles that you travel for commercial purposes. List each trip separately and include the reason for the trip as well as a log of the miles.
- If you are an owner operator, keep records of insurance expenses and the interest you pay on the truck. These may be deductible.
- Organize your receipts for your tax preparer before dropping them off. Your tax preparer may charge an additional fee for organizing your records.
As always, it is recommended to hire a professional tax preparer to assist you in preparing your taxes. Ask some other commercial truck drivers in your area who they use to find a tax preparer specifically knowledgeable in the trucking industry.