Partners in Business: Owner-operator deductions

Home office equipment must be used regularly and exclusively for your business in order to quality for a tax deduction.Home office equipment must be used regularly and exclusively for your business in order to quality for a tax deduction.

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.

CATEGORIES

BUSINESS LOANS AND MORTGAGE. Interest paid during calendar year.

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.

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.

INSURANCE PREMIUMS. Includes personal insurance, such as health.

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.

RETIREMENT PLANS. These include a Keogh plan for self or spouse, SIMPLE, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP), IRA and others.

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.

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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

SPECIFIC DEDUCTIONS

Here are some of the more common, specific deductions available:

ADMINISTRATIVE FEES / BUSINESS COSTS / OFFICE SUPPLIES

Accounting services
ATM fees, bank fees
Broker fees
Calculator
Comdata, Comchek
Co-driver, lumpers
Clipboard
Computer supplies
Credit card fees
Education
Envelopes
Fuel card fees
Ledger book
Legal costs
Paper, pens, ruler
Photocopies and faxes
Postage, FedEx, TripPak
Receipt book
Software
Stapler and staples
Trade magazines
Trade memberships
Transaction fees

COMMUNICATIONS

CB radio, repairs, antennas, cables
Cell phone and accessories
Pager
Phone cards
Qualcomm, satellite, Internet
Satellite radio

INSURANCE

Bobtail/liability
Cargo insurance/cargo claims
Disability
Health, dental, vision
Occupational accident
Physical damage

PERMITS, LICENSES, FEES

CDL fees
Door signs, decals, lettering
Federal Highway Use Tax (Form 2290)
Fuel taxes and road taxes
IRP, licenses and permits
Parking, scales
Tolls, Pre-Pass

PERSONAL

Caps, coats, shirts (with carrier logo)
Drug test
Eye exams, glasses, sunglasses
Gloves, coveralls
Laundry
Mileage on personal vehicle
Motels
Raingear
Safety shoes/boots
Uniforms

TRACTOR-TRAILER – EXTERIOR AND UNDER THE HOOD

Chains, tarps, pallets, bungee cords
Chrome
Coolant, antifreeze
Fuel and fuel additives, filters
Headache rack
Kingpin lock, padlocks
Load locks
Oil, lube
Power washer
Repairs, parts, labor
Shop equipment, power cords
Tires and repairs
Vacuum
Wash or wax of tractor or trailer

TRACTOR – INTERIOR

Accessories
Air fresheners
Alarm clock
Appliances
Atlas and maps
Bedding, sheets
Electric blanket, bunk heater
Camera, film
CD player
Cleaning supplies
Coffee pot
Coolers and ice
Crockpot
DVD player
Flashlight and batteries
Flyswatter
Hangers
Hoses and cables
Ice scraper
Luggage
Microwave
Paper towels
Refrigerator
Rugs, floor mats
Seat covers, cushions
Storage
Thermos
Tools (hand and power)
Trash bags
TV