It’s almost that time of year again – tax season. For truck drivers, there are many unique deductions available that can help reduce monies owed and maximize returns. Before sitting down with your accountant or tax advisor, here are some of the things to take into consideration that will help you get the most out of your 2015 tax filing.
Part of your truck driver training should have included the importance of keeping detailed records of all the expenses you incurred over the course of the year. By keeping track of how your money is being spent, you’ll be able to more accurately determine exactly what and how much you can deduct. Keeping receipts and other documentation in one place, such as in a folder or on a spreadsheet is recommended.
What’s New for 2015?
In some instances, new tax laws are implemented that specifically impact truck driving professionals. For 2015, Section 179 of the tax law has been expanded to include a few major deductions that were not previously available. For instance, starting with this year’s tax filing, you can now depreciate any truck you own over a three year period for tax savings purposes.
Additionally, if you purchased your truck in 2015, you can now deduct the actual amount you paid during the year, even if was financed.
What Else Can You Deduct?
Beyond equipment, there are also a number of other deductions that are available to trucking professionals. If you are an owner operator, many of the supplies necessary to run your business can be counted as deductions on your taxes. Some examples of these types of deductions include, but are not limited to:
- Internet and cell phone costs
- DOT required physical exam
- Drug tests
- Load board subscriber fees
- Postage fees (mailing invoices, bills of lading, etc.)
- Subscriptions to trucking publications
- Cleaning products for your truck
For a full list of available deductions, click here.
What Can’t You Deduct?
Just as it’s important to understand what deductions are available to you, it’s equally important to avoid taking deductions on things that are not allowed. If you’re not careful, your return could be flagged for a costly and time consuming audit. For instance, if you are a company truck driver and your company reimburses you for any of the things listed above, you are not allowed to deduct them on your own taxes.
Additional expenses that are not considered tax deductible include:
- Home phone
- Personal vacations
- Everyday clothing (not your uniform)
As with anything else relating to finance and taxes, it is always advisable to consult with a professional such as an accountant or tax advisor. It’s particularly beneficial to work with someone who has experience filing taxes for clients in the trucking industry.