Tax Time: Tax Deductions for Truck Drivers

imagesTax time is upon us again, so we’ve put together a quick guide of what you can be including as deductions as you prepare your 2013 tax returns.

While this is an overall list, keep in mind that most tax deductions for truck drivers can be used by drivers working for a company, or drivers that are self-employed. However, some may apply only to a driver that is self-employed. For reference, check out the 2013 IRS Schedule A for a list of deductions if you are employed by a company. If you are self-employed, check out the list on the 2013 IRS Schedule C form.

Also remember these deductions can only include those expenses that have not already been reimbursed.

If you are new to trucking, or not very good about keeping your receipts filed and organized throughout the year, this is a good time to put a system in place for 2014. This list can help you to see just what is deductible and can serve as a guideline for creating files for keeping future receipts.

  • Business-related magazine subscriptions. Keep in mind only industry-specific magazines about the trucking, transportation, etc. industry are deductible.
  • Travel expenses. Includes food, lodging, etc. You may be able to claim a standard daily meal allowance of $59/day. For more information, see pages 5 & 6 of the 2013 IRS Publication 463.
  • Educational fees. If you’re required to take any sort of classes or training to maintain your license those fees are tax deductible. Note: It doesn’t matter if it’s mandatory according to federal law, state law, or just your employer.
  • Vehicle expenses. This can also be a large category of receipts, as it includes everything from road tolls and maintenance costs, to fuel and parking fees. Licensing fees are also tax-deductible.
  • Postage. If you have to mail anything to your company the cost of the envelope, stamp, paper, pen… everything, is tax deductible.
  • Doctor’s exams. Your DOT physical, drug tests, and sleep apnea studies can all be deducted.
  • Personal care items. This is a category that can be overlooked when adding up expenses, but don’t forget to deduct the cost of the items you buy that you would otherwise have at home: razors, pillows, hand sanitizers, tissues, etc. Paying for the use of laundry and showering facilities can also be deducted. 
  • Uniforms. If you’re required to wear one, the cost of your uniform is deductible, as is any dry cleaning that’s needed to keep it clean and wearable. This category also includes special footwear or accessories that are required of your job, such as steel toe boots, a hard hat, safety glasses, etc.
  • Connection costs. This category pertains to internet and satellite access, be that for your cell phone or Sirius/XM. 50 percent of the access fees are deductible. However, the entire cost of your cell phone and laptop are deductible. In fact, the cost of deprecation on your PC can also be deducted if you’re required to use it for work. One loophole: the cost of a home phone is NOT deductible.
  • Cleaning supplies. Paper towels, window cleaner, whatever you need to maintain your truck.
  • Association fees. If you drive for a  company that requires you to join a group or union, you can include these membership dues on your tax return.
  • Liability insurance premiums. A necessary evil of truck driving, but at least it’s deductible!

Finally, remember that everyone’s tax and employment situation is unique, so always consult with a tax professional if you have questions about possible deductions. This article is not intended to provide specific tax advice.