Tax time is upon us again, so we’ve put together a quick guide of tax deductions for truck drivers in 2015. Please keep in mind this is not a full, comprehensive list, but a great starting point and a reminder to look into items you may not think are deductible.
Most tax deductions for truck drivers can be used by self-employed drivers, or drivers working for a company. However, some may only apply only to self-employed drivers. For reference, check out the Schedule A (Form 1040), Itemized Deductions information from the IRS.
If you are self-employed, check the Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss from Business information. Also remember these deductions can only include those expenses that have not already been reimbursed. Everyone’s employment and tax situations are unique. Consult a tax professional for specific questions or concerns about possible deductions. This blog post is not intended to provide specific tax advice.
- Travel expenses. Food, lodging and other travel expenses are tax-deductible.You may be able to claim a standard daily allowance for transportation workers, which is $59 a day from January 1st through September 30th, and $63 a day from October 1st through December 31st. For more information, check out the 2015 version of IRS Publication 463.
- Vehicle expenses. Many truck drivers gather a large number of receipts in this category throughout the year. Vehicle expenses include everything from fuel and parking expenses to road tolls and maintenance costs. License fees are also tax-deductible. Liability insurance premiums are also deductible.
- Cleaning supplies. Deduct expenses for paper towels, window cleaner and other cleaning supplies need to maintain your truck.
- Association fees. If you drive for a company that requires you to join a union or group, you can deduct the membership dues.
- Medical exams and tests. DOT physicals, sleep apnea studies and drug tests can all be deducted from your taxes.
- Personal care items. Don’t forget to deduct the cost of personal care items you purchase on the road that you would otherwise have at home: razors, pillows, tissues, hand sanitizers, first aid supplies, etc. You can also deduct expenses for showering and laundry facilities.
- Clothing. If you’re required to wear a uniform, the cost is deductible, as is any cleaning to keep it fresh and wearable. This category also includes footwear and specialty items such as safety glasses, hard hat, steel toe boots, and other safety items.
- Postage. If your position requires you to mail anything to your company, the cost of envelopes, stamps, boxes, labels, etc., can be included as a tax deduction.
- Load securement. Items required to ensure a safe load are also deductible, including tie down straps, load chains and bars, bungee cords, tarp straps, and wide load flags and signs.
- Truck cab essentials. Everyday items like an alarm clock, bedding, and curtains for the cab are generally deductible, as are extras storage bins, thermos and food storage items, and small appliances like a refrigerator and coffeemaker.
- Tools. Don’t forget to include deductions for basic tools for the road: pliers, hammer, crowbar, flashlights, wrenches, duct and electrical tapes, and other essentials.
- Fees. If you’re required to take classes or training to maintain your license, those fees are tax-deductible. Whether the training or class is mandatory to federal law, state law or just your employer, the fees are still tax-deductible. Other fees that are deductible include those for CDL licensing and similar expenses. Administrative fees including those for ATM and check reorders are also tax deductible.
- Association Dues. Dues for associations such as Teamsters, Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) etc. can be listed a deductible expense.
- Office supplies. Every day in-cab items like log books are deductible, but don’t forget to deduct the cost of items like a calculator, pens, and pencils and other traditional office supplies, as well as money paid to make copies or send faxes.
- Connection costs.This category refers to internet and satellite access for your cell phone or Sirius/XM. You can deduct 50 percent of your access fees. The entire cost of your cell phone and laptop is deductible. In fact, the cost of deprecation on your PC can also be deducted if you are required to use it for work. However, the cost of a home telephone is NOT tax-deductible.
- Business-related subscriptions. Fees for load board subscription is included in this category, as are industry-specific magazines about trucking, transportation, etc. Leisure and hobby magazines are not tax-deductible.