As a traditional employee, a company truck driver doesn’t usually get to claim losses on her federal tax return, as an independent contractor or self-employed worker is able to do. The driver can still claim unreimbursed expenses directly related to her work requirements, provided the truck driver has sufficient deductions to meet the IRS’ requirements for miscellaneous business expenses.
Miscellaneous Deduction Rules
Traditional employees, including company truck drivers, must itemize eligible business expenses to claim these deductions on their federal tax returns. The IRS requires a taxpayer to claim these deductions using Schedule A of Form 1040. These deductions must exceed 2 percent of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income before the IRS will allow any itemized deductions on Schedule A. The IRS will only allow deduction amounts exceeding this 2 percent requirement. For example, a company truck driver earning $30,000 annually must have at least $600 in business expenses to qualify.
Unreimbursed Employer Expenses
A truck driver may have to fuel up her vehicle while making delivery runs throughout the day. An employer may choose to compensate the driver for the cost of refueling the vehicle or may require the driver to pay for the fuel. The truck driver may take a miscellaneous tax deduction using Schedule A of IRS Form 1040 for any unreimbursed costs of working, including paying for fuel for the delivery truck. The driver should save all receipts for unreimbursed fuel costs to make it easier to total the deduction amount at the end of the year.
Continuing Education Requirements
Earning additional certifications to operate commercial grade vehicles may be a requirement for a truck driver’s career and a condition of employment. A driver may deduct the unreimbursed cost of attending required continuing education classes, including tuition and material costs, from his federal tax return. Attending classes from an accredited college, university or technical school may also qualify the truck driver for education tax credits, including the Hope Credit and American Opportunity Credit. A taxpayer does not need to itemize deductions to claim these education credits but should still itemize to directly claim the unreimbursed work expenses.
Working Away From Home
A company truck driver usually has a regular delivery route or a defined area where she makes deliveries for her employer. A driver required to work away from her tax home the geographic location where she regularly does business — may deduct the cost of travel from her federal return. To qualify, the work must be a temporary assignment and require the driver to stay away from home overnight. Eligible travel deductions including the whole cost of hotel stays and up to 50 percent of meals consumed.