Owner-operator tax deductions
As an owner-operator, you are self-employed, so any expense related to operating your business is tax-deductible. The Internal Revenue Service requires you to provide written proof of an expense. That may include a receipt, canceled check, settlement statement, bill, log or, when no document is available, such as business-related use of your personal vehicle, your records in a notebook. You must provide the date, place, type of expense and the amount. All deductions must be business related.
CASUALTY FINANCIAL LOSS. This is from damage such as hail, wind, theft and accidents.
DEPRECIABLE PROPERTY. The types of property that can be depreciated include tractor, trailer, equipment, buildings, computers, fax machine, copy machine and furniture used in business.
ENTERTAINMENT. For entertaining business associates. Personal entertainment, such as movies or games, is not deductible even while on the road.
GIFTS. Limited to $25 value for any person.
INSURANCE PREMIUMS. Includes personal insurance, such as health.
HOME OFFICE. To qualify, the home office must be your principal place of business. You must use the home office, including a computer and other equipment, regularly and exclusively for administration and management of your business. You may not have any other fixed location where you regularly conduct administration and management activities of the business.
RETIREMENT PLANS. These include Keogh plan for self or spouse, SIMPLE, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP), IRA and others.
BUSINESS LOANS AND MORTGAGE. Interest paid during calendar year.
PER DIEM. Covers meals and incidentals at a fixed daily rate when you are away from home overnight. There is no need to save receipts.
START-UP COSTS. Trips to visit truck dealers, bankers, carriers, etc.
SUPPLIES. For home office or truck.
TAXES, LICENSES AND OTHER GOVERNMENT FEES. Half of your self-employment tax is deductible. Fines and citations for illegal activity, such as speeding or weight violations, are not tax-deductible.
TRAVEL. Airline tickets, rental cars, lodging.
TRUCK LEASE. Under a lease-purchase, 100 percent of your truck payments are deductible. Security deposits are not deductible
Here are some of the more common, specific deductions available:
ADMINISTRATIVE FEES / BUSINESS COSTS / OFFICE SUPPLIES
ATM fees, bank fees
Credit card fees
Fuel card fees
Paper, pens, ruler
Photocopies and faxes
Postage, FedEx, TripPak
Stapler and staples
CB radio, repairs, antennas, cables
Cell phone and accessories
Qualcomm, satellite, Internet
Cargo insurance/cargo claims
Health, dental, vision
PERMITS, LICENSES, FEES
Door signs, decals, lettering
Fuel taxes and road taxes
Federal Highway Use Tax (Form 2290)
IRP, licenses and permits
Caps, coats, shirts (with carrier logo)
Eye exams, glasses, sunglasses
Mileage on personal vehicle
TRACTOR-TRAILER – EXTERIOR AND UNDER THE HOOD
Chains, tarps, pallets, bungee cords
Fuel and fuel additives, filters
Kingpin lock, padlocks
Repairs, parts, labor
Shop equipment, power cords
Tires and repairs
Trailer wash, tractor wash
TRACTOR – INTERIOR
Atlas and maps
Electric blanket, bunk heater
Coolers and ice
Flashlight and batteries
Hoses and cables
Rugs, floor mats
Seat covers, cushions
Tools (hand and power)