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Tax Deductions for Truck Owner Operators

Posted: June 15, 2022

If you drive for a company, you can no longer claim work related tax deductions when you file. However, if you are an owner operator you can claim you’re the itemized cost of your work and deduct these costs on your tax form 1099. This will reduce your adjusted gross income and help you pay less in taxes which will make any owner operator happy. Now let’s look at what exactly you can and cannot deduct.

First, let’s look at what you cannot deduct. These are common costs but the government will not accept these itemizations on your 1099:

  1. Clothing that can be used for any day wear
  2. Income lost from unpaid mileage
  3. Cost to commute to truck yards or to a company
  4. Home phone line
  5. Time spent working on your equipment
  6. Downtime

OK, now that we’ve eliminated what we can’t use, let’s look at items you can absolutely deduct to lower your gross adjusted income and pay fewer taxes:

  1. Medical exams for work related issues
  2. Food you purchase on the road
  3. Association dues
  4. Fuel and travel costs
  5. Personal products needed for work (flashlights, logbooks, specialized clothing, coolers, etc.)
  6. Truck repair and maintenance
  7. Licensing fees
  8. Cell phone plans and internet costs

And outside of this list, don’t forget other standard deductions that you should take advantage of if applicable like child tax credits, child or dependent care or lifetime learning credits.

Remember the key to filing itemized deductions is good record keeping! Keep your receipts and documents in one handy place so when tax time comes everything is at your fingertips. Having your receipts and documents is also key to keep stress at a minimum if the IRS does request an audit.  And always remember to file on time by April 15th.

Follow these steps and you’ll decrease your tax exposure and your stress level. This will help you get on with focusing on being a successful owner operator!