Full-time truck drivers are aware of the federal laws that govern the transportation industry. It is always important to brush up on tax laws so operators can best take advantage of tax deductions and know ahead of time about new regulations and taxes in the trucking industry. Contacting a certified public accountant can help you stay up to date with the policy changes and tax forms that you need to know.
Specific taxes levied on the trucking industry often come out of the pockets of truck drivers. For example, the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax must be paid for any vehicle that is over 55,000 pounds in gross vehicle weight. Truckers may also have to pay quarterly taxes if they are self-employed or receive a 1099 employment form instead of a W-2. To get a good idea of the tax responsibilities of drivers and owner-operators, visit the Internal Revenue Service website and download the following forms: Form 2290 Heavy Vehicle Use Tax Return, Publication 510 Excise Taxes, and Form 720 Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return.
Truckers are responsible for a high volume of fees and expenses related to their job, but many of these business expenses are tax deductible. Examples of deductible expenses include safety gear, dry cleaning costs for uniforms, meals while on the road, medical exams, interest from bank loans, business phones, association dues, office supplies and computer software. According to thetruckersreport.com, non-deductible expenses may include non-uniform clothing, commuting costs, personal vacations, time from working on your own equipment and income lost as a result of unpaid mileage. Check with an accountant to make sure that you take all deductions you are eligible for, and to avoid claims that might lead to an IRS audit.
Per Diem Amounts
Instead of keeping receipts for every meal while on the road, truckers who do not own homes can use a per diem rate for a deductible meal and travel allowance. The current IRS per diem rate is $36. This amount can be deducted for every day you spend on the road.