The trucking industry is one of the single most important trades key to the stability of our national economy. Everything, it seems, moves by truck in America. Because of this, the tax code has many deductions and credits specific to trucking.
o It’s imperative that a truck driver maintains organized records. Because of the complications of trucking industry tax codes, truck drivers are frequently the targets of IRS audits.
o The basic tax strategy for a self-employed trucker is that everything that has anything to do with your truck is a deduction. This includes apparent items like fuel and gas down to the rags you use to wipe a dipstick.
o Itemizing deductions does not cause audits, but a long, itemized list does make the IRS more curious. So, when it comes to your truck, keep receipts of every expense you are going to list. Keep a receipt book in case you forget something. In the event you lose or forget a receipt for an item, write down the day, date, and time of the expense. Include a detailed description of the expense, along with its cost. This should satisfy the IRS should you be audited. Just don’t have too many receipts written in the book, instead of actual ones.
o You are allowed on the road meal allowances as part of your return. Keep receipts and a logbook of meals taken on the road.
o Almost every state you travel through is levying a tax against you in the form of tolls and other charges. Keep strict account of what you have to pay out in each state, as these are deductions on your federal income tax form.
o If you drive a truck over 55,000 pounds, you will have to pay a federal highway tax by the end of August every year. If you have just purchased a truck that weighs in at these numbers; you will have to pay the highway tax at the end of the month in which you bought the truck. After your first highway tax payment you have the option of paying the highway tax in full by the end of every August or in quarterly installments.
o Keep accurate track of your mileage and fuel purchases, as you will get a deduction against fuel taxes.
o Truckers need a tax preparation professional even more than most business people. The income tax as it applies to truckers is a warren of credits and codes. Find someone particularly experienced in preparing income tax returns for truckers. An income tax preparation professional with experience doing truckers taxes will not miss the special deductions and tax credits available to you in the current tax code.