Tax season will soon be upon us. Here are some tips to help truck drivers, both company drivers and owner/operators, stay organized and make the most of their deductions.

Make Record Keeping a Priority

Over the year, you’ll gather a stack of receipts, invoices, bills and statements. Make an effort to keep these organized from the start by getting a number of boxes or envelopes and labeling each with a month of the year. Place the documents into each container according to the month the transaction was made.

Utilize your credit cards’ detailed expense tracking features. For example, the Cenex Voyager Fleet card provides detailed reports of how many gallons you’ve purchased and how much you paid, in addition to tracking spending outside of Cenex stores. You won’t be able to claim these expenses without supporting records.

Know What Deductions Are Available

Both truck drivers and owner/operators can reduce their tax burden by deducting expenses. This is where the folder system will play a key role. Save all of your receipts and keep them organized. These items add up to hundreds of dollars of tax deductions.

Some of the deductions available:

  • Vehicle expenses and maintenance costs – You can deduct fuel, parts, repairs and supplies, including floor mats, bungee cords, tarps, oil changes, jumper cables, cleaning products, CB maintenance, vehicle inspections, etc.
  • Travel expenses – Expenses that drivers incur while on the road are deductible. This includes meals, lodging and laundry, as well as toll booth and parking costs.
  • Personal care items – This includes items you’ll need to take care of yourself on the road, including sheets, blankets, grooming supplies, detergent, shaving supplies, toiletries, etc.
  • Subscriptions to trade publications
  • Union and trade association dues
  • Licenses and regulatory fees
  • Liability insurance premiums

This isn’t a complete list, but it should give you an idea of things to look for. Consult a tax professional for more information on deductions and planning for 2017 taxes.

Photo credit: Flickr user teegardin
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