What Tax Write-Offs Do Truck Drivers Have?
Truck Expenses – The truck itself is an obvious place to start. Truck expenses include anything necessary to keep your truck running and operating efficiently. Any business, not just truck drivers, can claim any expense that it deems ordinary and necessary for the operation of the business. If the Internal Revenue Service ever questions an expense you made, they will look to see if the expense is reasonable and ordinary in the industry. If it is, then the tax write-off is allowable.
Travel Expenses – When you are traveling away from your home, you can deduct the additional associated expenses it costs you for being away. For instance, stopping off at a hotel or getting your laundry done qualifies as a tax write-off. The trip must take you away from your tax home for longer than an ordinary workday, and you must need to sleep or rest in order to complete your work. You must prove you took the time to rest and eat, so you will need your truck logbook and the receipts from your expenditures to substantiate them.
Meal Allowance – Meals that you eat while traveling can be deductible up to 50 percent of the actual cost or 50 percent of the standard meal allowance. Publication 463 lists the current standard meal allowance, which you should review prior to using this deduction as they are subject to change. This rule applies unless you are an interstate truck driver. According to the Internal Revenue Service, anyone traveling who is “subject to the Department of Transportation’s hours of service limits” can claim 80 percent of his meal costs; whether he uses the actual or standard methods. Interstate truck drivers are subject to these hours of service limits; local drivers are not.
Personal Equipment Expenses – Equipment expenses can include anything necessary to perform your job. For example, if you need gloves or tools to unload or work on the truck these items are deductible. Uniforms that your company or employer requires can also be a tax write-off. This includes the upkeep of the equipment as well as the actual purchases.
Where to Deduct the Expenses – If you are a self-employed truck driver working as a sole proprietor, you will generally deduct all your expenses on Form 1040 Schedule C. If your business is set up as a partnership, you will file Form 1065 and if it is an S-Corporation, you will file Form 1120S.
As an employee, you will deduct any expenses that your employer did not reimburse on Form 1040 Schedule A and Form 2106. Both of these forms are included with your personal 1040 tax return.
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