Make the Most of Your Deductions
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
The dreaded tax season may be a distant memory for some, but for those who filed extensions or who may have missed something for this year, there’s always the amended return. Next year will be here before you know it, so here’s a few tips so you don’t miss any deductions you deserve and are entitled to take.
Of course owner-operators can deduct all of the expenses of running their truck. If you are a company driver and you can itemize, you are eligible to take deductions for things that you might do your truck with your company’s permission. All those shiny parts are deductible, so keep the receipts!
If you are new to the road, welcome! Now is a good time to set up a system, if you haven’t already. Hopefully this will help you learn what receipts you need to keep to help lower the tax you have to pay or to get a bigger refund.
ELECTRONICS: Any electronics that you use in the truck such as your CB radio and any repairs it might need, GPS, SiriusXM satellite radio and fees, cell phone and fees, alarms, Bluetooth headsets, antennas, power cords, etc. I think you get the idea, keep the receipts and file them accordingly.
FEES & TOLLS: All those dreaded fees can be deducted too! ATM fees, Comcheck fees, CDL license, parking, tolls, drug testing, scales, lumpers, hazmat endorsement, TWIC card and any other expense like this. Association dues like OOIDA or WIT can also be deducted, even magazine subscriptions for trade magazines. Company drivers can only deduct things like tolls, scales and lumpers if your company does not reimburse you for them; otherwise it is the company’s deduction.
PERSONAL HYGIENE: When you do laundry on the road keep track of how much money you put in the washer and dryers along with the cost of detergents you use. If you have to pay for a shower, get the receipt! Soaps, shampoo and other items related to personal hygiene that you buy and use on the road are deductible.
TOOLS: The tools you buy and use in your truck such as flashlights, batteries, hammer, tire thumper, screw drivers, pliers, bolt cutters, electrical tape, duct tape, wrenches, sockets and ratchets; as well as office supplies, little notebooks, pens, rulers, log books, log book covers, staples, stapler, calculator, white out, clipboards, briefcase, an atlas, paper clips and any other office supplies that you might need or use in your truck are deductible.
CARGO SUPPLIES: Everything you use to secure or mark your loads like chains, binders, straps, load locks, load bars, bungees, flashing lights, oversize load signs and tape to secure them – all deductible.
TIME ON THE ROAD: Keep track of your days away from home. This deduction can be huge if you don’t get home much – – even if you are home a lot, keep track of all the days you’re away because they add up! Your logs prove your days out and there are some areas of the country where the deduction is greater. Check with your tax preparer.
OTHER BUSINESS EXPENSES: If you have to pay for a hotel room, incur expenses flying, bus or cab fare, or you incur travel expenses looking for a job, starting a new job or quitting a job; all can be deductions. Owner-operators who are new to the business can deduct all maintenance and repairs that you perform, hard parts, any finance charges, accounting and tax preparation charges. Keep track of the mileage on your car when you are running to get parts or truck supplies, that can be deducted too!
MISCELANIOUS: Of course you will need a miscellaneous file for everything that doesn’t fit in a specific category such as bedding, storage solutions, hats, coats, gloves, required uniforms, required safety equipment, hard hats, vests, safety glasses, steel toe boots or shoes, dry cleaning uniforms for some.
Make sure you hire a tax preparer that is familiar with the trucking industry. Someone who is not can miss deductions you are entitled to and cost you money. You may be very surprised at what can be legitimate deductions. Anytime you go to a truck show or trade show, it can be a deduction. Again, make sure you hire someone who is very familiar with our industry so they can help you take advantage of every single deduction out there for you.
Stay Safe Out There & Keep It Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.
IOWA80.COM and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. You should consult your own tax, legal or accounting advisor.