Itemizing Deductions on Income Tax for Truck Drivers

Deductions for truck drivers could significantly reduce their overall tax burden

Truck driving can be hard and expensive work. Thankfully you may be able to lower your tax burden by deducting some of your expenses.

If you are an employee, you can take these deductions on Schedule A [Itemized Deductions]. If you are a statutory employee or are self-employed, you can take these deductions on Schedule C [Profit or Loss from Business].

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Here are some of the deductions you can claim:

  • vehicle expenses – you can deduct parking fees and tolls, standard mileage rates (or else the actual expenses), as well as maintenance, repairs, and supplies, which can include oil changes, tune-ups, vehicle inspections, tie-down straps, jumper cables, chains, tarps, fuel, bungee cords, floor mats, etc.
  • personal care items – things you need to take care of yourself when you’re on the road including shaving supplies, tissues, laundry detergent, fabric softener, towels, toiletries, pillows, sheets, sleeping bags, grooming supplies, and hand cleaners, as well as shower and laundry facilities
  • Travel expenses – such as lodging, meals, and laundry expenses when you are away from home. Note that meal expenses have their own set of rules that govern them
  • Cost and upkeep of work clothes and uniforms – in order to deduct them, however, you must wear them as a condition of your employment and they must not be suitable for everyday wear. This includes protective clothing required for your work such as safety shoes or boots, safety glasses, hard hats, and work gloves
  • union and trade association dues
  • flat-rate occupational taxes and excise taxes – such as heavy highway vehicle use tax
  • liability insurance premiums
  • subscriptions to trade publications
  • depreciation of a computer your employer requires you to use in your work
  • licenses and regulatory fees

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This is a pretty wide list, so be careful not to go overboard. Remember, these expenses must be unreimbursed in order for you to claim them. Also they can’t be anything too outrageous or lavish. The IRS must consider the expense ordinary and necessary. According to their definition

Note that if you are deducting these expenses as miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A, you can only deduct the amount of expenses that exceeds 2% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Take the total amount of expenses you have. Then subtract 2% of AGI. This is how much you can claim.

And remember, as with all itemized deductions, you can only claim the expenses if you keep receipts as proof in the event that you get audited.

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When you itemize deductions that means you can’t claim the standard deduction. Depending on how many expenses you have, it may make sense to claim the standard deduction.

We can help you choose between the standard deduction and itemizing deductions and help streamline the deduction process

I’m a truck driver. What deductions can I claim?

You can deduct expenses that are ordinary and necessary to the business. Ordinary and necessary depends on factors that vary by:

  • Occupation
  • Taxpayer
  • Job

The IRS considers a semi-truck to be a qualified nonpersonal-use vehicle. You must claim your actual expenses for vehicles of this type. So, you can’t use the standard mileage method.

To deduct actual expenses for the truck, your expenses can include but aren’t limited to:

  • Fuel
  • Oil
  • Repairs
  • Tires
  • Washing
  • Insurance
  • Any other legitimate business expense

Other unreimbursed expenses you can deduct include:

  • Log books
  • Lumper fees
  • Cell phone that’s 100% for business use
  • License and fees for truck and trailer
  • Interest paid on loan for truck and trailer

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