If you are a truck driver, especially if you are an owner-operator, you need to be sure to claim all your expenses come tax time. These deductions can have a huge impact on lowering your taxable income and reducing your tax liability. If you want to pay less tax, then you should be claiming your per diem and the other deductions listed below.
Your Per Diem
If you drive long-haul trips or are away from home overnight for meals there is a great chance you can claim meal per diems. In 2015 the rate started out at $59 a day and increased October 1st to $63 per day, of which you can claim 80% of. In essence you can claim this deduction every day you are away from home and driving truck. If you work 220 days a year (at an average) you could claim over $10,000 in meal expenses while you were away. This generally cannot be claimed by company drivers that are reimbursed for meals.
On the Go
In a digital age, the government recognizes the need for drivers to be and remain connected including the usage of mobile or cell phones, laptop computers with internet connectivity and traditional CB radios. These can be big expenses for drivers, but most of it can be deducted on your taxes as an expense deduction. Any physical item you buy, such as a phone, laptop or CB radio is 100% deductible as a business expense. However, because you use these items for personal use, especially the phone and laptop, you can only claim 50% of the monthly connection, data or minute charges as a deduction.
Did you know you can deduct any subscriptions or trucking-related publications that you purchase or subscribe to on an annual basis? This information is considered to be relevant because they often include new regulations and information relevant to the industry. As such their full cost is deductible. Also, if you are a part of a union or trucking association, the dues for membership are also deductible. Of course your licensing fees to be a commercial driver are also a tax write off.
As an owner-operator or business owner, you can claim a lot of the same expenses as a local business. This includes an office space, office supplies, maintenance of your truck, personal or business necessities such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, tools for truck maintenance and repair, industry clothing and any fees while on the road such as tolls, parking, truck weight fees and much more.
If you are not claiming all these expenses you may be paying more in tax than you should be. Also, these types of expense lists are considered an itemized expense list as opposed to a Standardized expense list. If you itemize your expenses you can likely claim more in deductions, but you also need to keep all your receipts and have them organized. Let a local tax preparation specialist help you get more of your money back.
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