Over-the-road expenses for truckers must facilitate travel, be appropriate for travel and be required to conduct business. Many expenses are deductible; however, you must keep records, important documents, receipts, permits, statements, log books and other supporting documentations to substantiate your expense deductions. It is also important to keep your log books, licenses and permits current.
The trailer, pulled by the cab, holds the cargo.
Fines paid for violating traffic and weight laws are not deductible. Expenses reimbursed by your employer, personal expenses and personal grooming expenses are not tax-deductible. You cannot deduct downtime for doing repairs on your truck.
Direct Vehicle Expenses
As a truck driver, you can deduct direct expenses such as diesel, gas, oil, vehicle fluids, maintenance and repair, tires and replacement parts. You can also deduct liability insurance, vehicle-related insurance, weight charges, licenses, permits and registrations. You can deduct expenses to clean, wash and wax your vehicle such as truck washing services and pressure washing. You can also claim parking fees and tolls incurred on the road. You can claim depreciation on your cab, trailer and their associated equipment. Depreciation allows you to deduct the cost of the cab over a period of years.
Cleaning supplies such as window cleaner, paper towels, cloth towels and squeegees are deductible. Office supplies such as pens, log books, briefcases, paper and notebooks are also deductible business expenses. Personal protective equipment such as gloves, hardhats, special boots or shoes, safety glasses and hazardous material suits are deductible as well. Office equipment such as laptop computers and their accessories can be depreciated over five years.
Room, Board and Meals
Hotel and truck stop expenses are tax-deductible expenses; meals are deductible but subject to a 50 percent limit. Incidental costs such as tips paid to servers, porters, baggage carriers and hotel personnel are also deductible business expenses. Use the per diem rate for the area where you stay as a guide to see what rates are reasonable. Long-distance telephone calls from the hotel, business use of your cell phone and Internet access fees paid while away from home are deductible. Finally, laundry, dry cleaning and laundry supplies used while away from home are deductible business expenses.
Tools and Equipment
The cost of tools and equipment to do repairs and maintenance can be depreciated over several years. You do not have to depreciate the cost of tools if it is expected to be less than one year. Fees for emergency towing, GPS services, traffic and weather tracking services are tax-deductible business expenses. Costs to rent, lease or buy equipment such as CB radios, antennas, GPS systems, traffic and weather tracking systems are also deductible. Finally, safety equipment such as flags, flares, emergency kits, jack straps, tarps and load chains are tax-deductible.
Taxes and Interest
Interest you pay on loans for your truck, trailer and equipment are deductible. If your truck is more than 55,000 lbs. gross weight, you may have to pay the Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax. You may deduct this tax and other excise taxes as required. The 12 percent retail excise tax for trucks and diesel taxes cannot be deducted since they are considered part of the price.
You can deduct the costs of trucking subscriptions, uniforms and dues paid to unions and associations. Maps and Atlases are deductible as are ATM fees while away from home.
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