Whether you operate under your own authority or lease on to a carrier, any expense related to running your trucking business is tax-deductible.
Below are some common business expenses that are sometimes overlooked when owner-operators file their taxes. Remember to keep receipts and other records of these expenses throughout the year so that you can provide proof to the IRS if necessary.
Any equipment you use for your business that depreciates over time can be deducted. These items include trucks, trailers, buildings, computers, copiers, fax machines and furniture.
Casualty Financial Loss
If your trucks or other assets suffered damage from an accident or extreme weather conditions during the tax year, you can write off the expenses.
To qualify for this deduction, your home office must be the primary place where you manage your business.
Business-Related Loans and Mortgages
You can deduct your interest payments during the calendar year.
Phone and Internet Access Fees
The IRS allows you to deduct 50% of the access fees you pay for the phones and other mobile devices you use in running your business.
ATM, Bank and Credit Card Fees
As with the other deductibles listed, you can only write off transaction fees you incur when conducting business.
Because truck drivers often use satellite radio for weather and traffic information, the cost of a subscription can be deducted from your taxes.
Truck Maintenance Costs
Expenses associated with truck maintenance and cleaning can be deducted. If you do your own repairs, you can deduct the cost of parts, but not for labor.
Out-of-pocket fuel costs and fuel card fees can be deducted.
Licenses, Permits and other Government Fees
Half of your self-employment tax is deductible. You cannot deduct the cost of speeding tickets, weight violations or other penalties paid to the government.
Per Diem Costs
The IRS allows you to deduct a per diem cost of meals, lodging and other expenses while you are on the road. It is usually around $63.00 per day. This deduction may be more convenient than saving all your receipts. If you are a self-employed driver working for a carrier, you can only deduct the traveling expenses you incur that are not reimbursed by the carrier.
Uniform and Laundry
If you work for a carrier that requires you to wear a company uniform, you can deduct it on your tax return. The costs of doing laundry while you are on the road are also tax-deductible.
These include contributions to retirement plans like an IRA or a Keogh plan for yourself or your spouse.
Your deductions can include premiums paid on company and personal insurance plans.
Under a lease-purchase agreement, 100% of your truck payments are deductible. Your security deposit is not deductible.
Sources: Overdrive, IRS.gov, Heavy Duty Trucking, LoveToKnow.com, OOIDA.com