2016 Tax Deductions for Truck Drivers in the Trucking Industry

It’s tax time for truck drivers and every other worker in the United States. Because tax guidelines change year to year we’ve compiled a quick list of 2016 tax deductions available to truck drivers. This is not a complete list of tax guidelines, but a starting point, and a reminder of what may be deductible.

truck-driver-windshieldMost truck drivers qualifying for tax deductions will be self-employed drivers or drivers working for a company. Some deductions do apply only to the self-employed drivers. To be sure what deductions you qualify for, check the 2016 Instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040) which is an official IRS document. If you are a self-employed driver, you can also check out this 2016 Instructions for Schedule C (1040) Profit or Loss from Business form.

This blog is not written by a tax professional, nor is it intended to provide specific tax advice. Please consult an actual professional for specific questions or concerns about your possible deductions.

Here’s a list of deductions you may be able to make use of, as long as you’ve not already been reimbursed for any of them:

Vehicle Expenses. These may include parking fees, tolls, standard mileage rate or actual expenses (such as maintenance and repair, registration fees, tires, some or all insurance premiums, oil, fuel, and depreciation if you are the vehicle’s owner).

Travel Expenses. Expenses incurred while away from home such as lodging, laundry, and meals at a standard rate of $51 per day for most small United States localities, or a higher rate depending on where you are traveling.

Required Trade Association or Union membership Dues are 100% deductible. Voluntary memberships may be deductible if it is a regular industry membership, or if it can be demonstrated the membership assists in the employee’s career.

License and Regulatory Fees. CDL costs, along with fees associated with the required continuing education to maintain a license with an employer or state or federal agencies are all deductible.

Subscriptions to Trucking-Related Publications. Industry publications contain information relevant for drivers to stay up-to-date in their field, and therefore can be 100% deductible.

Personal electronic devices. Mobile phones and wireless laptops are included, however since these items can also be used for personal purposes they can only be deducted at 50% of their monthly fees. The device’s entire cost can be deducted if it is required for work use, however.

Medical Exams. Any required out-of-pocket medical exams can be deducted as a business expense for truck drivers. These could include DOT physicals, drug tests and sleep apnea studies.

Personal Necessities. Items drivers need in order to work on the road include specialized clothing, gloves, sunglasses, log books, calculators, flashlights, binders or luggage can be deducted.

Truck Necessities. Items to keep your truck clean and items to make you more comfortable in the truck can be deducted. This could include alarm clocks, bedding and curtains, a mini-fridge, coffeemaker, tools, paper towels, window cleaner and cleaning supplies.

Load Securement Items. Tie down straps, tarp straps, bungee cords, load chains and bars, as well as Wide Load flags and signs are all deductible.

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