By: Law Office of Ray Haselman

What You Need to Know About Truck Driver Taxes

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It is not uncommon for truck drivers to hire tax return preparers to file their returns. With proper tax planning in advance, a truck driver may be able to lower their significant tax bill. In fact, there are tax attorneys and preparers who focus solely on preparing tax returns for truck drivers as a specialty tax area.

A truck driver should always ask any prospective tax preparer regarding their specialty concerning truck driver tax planning.

Who Can Claim Deductions For Truck Drivers?

Employees who receive a W-2 from a trucking company at the end of the year are not able to claim tax deductions that are reserved for truck drivers.

Self-employed truck drivers who receive 1099-NECs from any customer that paid more than $600 during that tax year are eligible for truck driver-related tax deductions. Gathering those 1099s alongside your own income and expense records, you’ll fill out the Schedule C section on the Form 1040 tax returns. To report self-employment taxes, you may also be required to complete the Schedule SE on Form 1040.

What Expenses Are Tax Deductible?

Several expenses can be claimed as deductions if you are a truck driver. Below is a list of several standard deductions:

  • Clothing worn solely while working; especially specialized safety gear
  • Education and training to maintain a CDL or other certifications
  • Chains, tire irons, ratchet straps, and various other necessary equipment
  • Meals if eaten during work while away from your “tax home”
  • Insurance for auto liability (commercial) and property damage
  • Travel costs such as hotels or tolls
  • Regularly required medical exams
  • Office expenses, such as accounting software or physical office supplies
  • Association dues if part of a union or other trucking association
  • Cell phone/computer or percentage used for business
  • Taxes and licenses
  • Vehicle expenses such as fuel, registration, etc.: standard mileage method is not available to truck drivers
  • Subscriptions to trucking-related publications,
  • Personal products, such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, GPS, cooler/minifridge, flashlight, log book, alarm clock; anything used solely in traveling for business

What Expenses Can You Not Deduct?

Certain expenses may seem like they could be deductible for truck drivers but are not. A few typical costs that are unable to be counted as deductions on a truck driver’s taxes are:

  • Expenses that your company reimburses
  • Travel and meal expenses during personal trips
  • Home phone line
  • Everyday-appropriate clothing
  • Commuting between home and business headquarters

When trying to understand what is deductible for a truck driver or not, decide what you have a recordable expense of and what is necessary strictly for the business.

What Problems Do Truck Drivers Have While Preparing Taxes?

The most common problem when dealing with a truck driver’s taxes is knowing what expenses can count as deductions. If you’re looking ahead to a tough tax season, or especially if this is your first year as a truck driver, give us a call and speak with our team.