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Truck Driver Tax Deductions: Profound Ways To Save

Saving money is important when your truck driver. That’s why you should learn about the different tax deductions for truck drivers so you can save when tax season comes

By

Jacob Lee
October 3, 2022
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Tax deductions for truck drivers are a great way to save more money when tax season comes around. Every little thing adds up, and by the time its tax season, you should have plenty of expenses to write off.

To reap the advantages of truck driver tax deductions, you’ll have to provide a record of all the job-related expenses you incur on the road. The records you keep should be for expenses on items that allow you to perform your job as a truck driver. Some of these expenses include:

  • Cell phone plans
  • Medical visits
  • Food 
  • Truck repairs

We’ll discuss more about what tax deductions exist for truck drivers, as well as which drivers are eligible for deductions. 

What Are Truck Driver Tax Deductions?

A semi truck driving alongside an SUV while on the highway

Tax deductions are a way of saving money when it’s time to do your taxes. Essentially, they reduce that amount of your taxable income. Truck driver tax deductions are no different in that they apply to business expenses that truck drivers spend while on the road. When meeting with a tax professional to file your taxes, they’ll show you the various tax deductible costs that will lower your income tax. 

Which Truck Drivers Are Eligible For Deductions?

All truck drivers were once able to have access to tax deductions. Unfortunately, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, not all drivers are granted this luxury anymore. Currently, only self-employed owner-operators or contract drivers can claim tax deductions. As an owner-operator or contract driver, you will be filing taxes using a 1099. 

Not only do you have to be an owner-operator truck driver to be eligible for tax deductions, the expenses that you’ve accrued while trucking must be eligible as well. We’ve listed and explained some of the most popular item expenses that you can claim tax deductions for. 

1. Cell Phone Plans

A man on their cell phone

Many owner-operators and contract truck drivers have an entirely separate cell phone line that they use for trucking purposes only. Some truck drivers opt to use one phone line for trucking and personal use. Regardless of which one you use, about 50 percent of your costs for phone plans and internet fees can be deducted.  

2. Association Dues

Even truckers who don’t work as company drivers can be part of a union or trucking association. Truck drivers might join a union or an association for some of the reasons below:

  • Discounts on fuel
  • Benefits
  • Rebates on tires
  • Preventative maintenance 

While trucker associations and unions have their benefits, they do come with membership fees or dues that you’ll owe. Fortunately, fees and dues like these are eligible for tax deductions as well. That means you get the benefits of trucker associations and unions, while also saving on money. 

3. Medical Visits

Taking care of your health is always important, especially when you’re a truck driver. There are many hazards that you’ll be facing as a truck driver that could cause you to sustain an injury. If you have to attend a medical exam for any injuries you suffer while on the job, the expenses will be tax deductible. Expenses incurred from medical exams or fitness tests required by the companies you work with will also be deducted from your taxes. 

4. Expenses For Food

A cheese burger and fries

Another expense that you’re likely to incur as a truck driver is food. Any of the food that you get while on the job can be tax deductible. You can get a tax deduction of around 80 percent for all food expenses. That said, you’ll need to document these expenses by keeping all of your receipts. 

If you want to avoid food expenses while on the road altogether, look into our article about healthy snacks for truck drivers.   

5. Work-Related Clothing

When you’re a truck driver, you’re going to need to have some of the important items to perform your job efficiently. Some work-related clothing includes the following:

  • Back brace
  • Steel toed boots
  • Rain jacket
  • Safety gloves 

Any clothing like the ones that we’ve listed that you buy for work purposes is eligible for tax deductions. Expenses on everyday wear clothing, however, will not be granted this tax deduction benefit. Some everyday clothing includes the following:

  • T-shirt
  • Shorts
  • Jeans
  • Tennis shoes

Check out our article on truck driver essentials for more items that you’ll need while you’re out on the road. 

6. Truck Repairs

At some point, some part of your truck is bound to break down. Many parts of a semi-truck are expensive to replace. High costs to fix your truck can break the bank, but you can get tax deductions for all repairs that you make on your semi truck. 

One way to prevent, or at least postpone, truck repairs is by completing routine maintenance checks on your semi before going out on the road. Even expenses for maintenance will be tax deductible. The reason that all work-related expenses are tax deductible is that your truck is technically considered a non-personal use vehicle. 

The only expenses on your truck that won’t be tax deductible are cosmetic ones.    

7. Insurance

Business-related insurance premiums are another item that you can receive tax deductions for. There are a variety of insurance plans that you can have that meet this tax deduction requirement. They include insurance plans for:

  • Property damage
  • Commercial auto liability
  • Loss of cargo
  • Business interruption

Your health insurance premium can also be deducted, although, it can’t be deducted as a business expense. When filing your tax return, you will have to put your health insurance in a special field. 

8. Load Expenses

Buckles holding freight down

There are all kinds of freight loads that require various types of equipment to transport them successfully. Whenever you purchase equipment that you use to transport or load/unload your freight, those purchases will be considered business related. As a result, these items can be subject to tax deductions.

Some of the types of load equipment that will be tax deductible include the following:

  • Ratchet straps
  • Pallet jacks
  • Bungee cords
  • Chains
  • Tarps
  • Electrical tape

At some point throughout your time driving, you’ll need to obtain the equipment you don’t have or replace the equipment you own. Therefore, you should be sure to keep track of these purchases so you can deduct them from your taxes. 

9. Personal Products

Personal products constitute a variety of different items. While you’ll likely be prepared with the products you need before heading out on the road, you might need to restock on goods at some point during your journey. Personal products that you get while on the road may be tax deductible, as long as they’re not items that have no practical use for truck driving. 

Such items include:

  • Logbooks
  • Flashlight
  • Global positioning system (GPS)
  • Coolers 

If you’re on the hunt for a new cooler, check out our article on the best 12-volt coolers.  

10. Non-Trucking Related Taxes

Being a truck driver might take up a large amount of your life, but it’s not the only responsibility that you have. There are other expenses that you’ll incur while handling the other responsibilities you have outside of driving. Luckily, you’ll be able to claim tax credits for some of these expenses. 

A few examples are:

  • Child and dependent care credit
  • Child tax credits
  • Earned income tax credit
  • Education credits

There are many eligibility requirements that you’ll need to meet to reap the benefits of these tax credits. It can be difficult keeping track of requirements as they change, so go ahead and apply for these credits, even if you don’t think that you’re qualified for them. 

Further Your Driving Career With ABCO

While working as an owner-operator has its perks, it also has many downsides. Working for a trucking company provides you with more stability than you would have working independently. At ABCO, we take numerous steps to provide our drivers with that stability, as well as other perks they can take advantage of when they work for us. 

First, all of our drivers are paid a minimum of $67,000 a year and even more if their previous driving experience demands it. We also allow our drivers flexible schedules that give them a balance of work and personal time.  

ABCO also has numerous resorts around the country that our drivers can travel to and vacation at. The best part is that the resort time you spend there will all be free. Start working for a trucking company that cares about you and apply with ABCO. 

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