An important tax form called the W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, should be received by company drivers no later than the beginning of February. This form lists the income from wages you receive as an employee.

While a company driver may seem to have a straight-forward tax filing, he/she will need to pay attention to some key tips to be sure they maximize your tax refund.
Tax Tips for Company Drivers

Tip #1. Take Advantage of Tax Credits.

Some common tax credits a Company Driver can take advantage of include:

The Adoption Credit. 
If you adopted a child at some time during the tax year for which you are filing, you may claim a credit of up to $13,400 for 2015, or $13,460 for 2016.

The American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits
This allows the taxpayer, their spouse, and their dependent[s] who attend college or trade school up to $2,500 with the American Opportunity credit, and up to $2,000 with the Lifetime Learning Credit. The credit amount will depend on your tuition and fees paid.

Child and Dependent Care Expenses.
If you are working and had dependent care expenses for children under the age of 13 or have a dependent or spouse who is disabled, this credit helps you claim the expenses associated.

Child Tax Credit.
For taxpayers who have children under the age of 17, you may receive a credit of up to $1,000 per child.

Earned Income Tax Credit. 
Developed for low-income workers, this credit may be claimed by those with or without children and will credit up to $6,269 as of 2015.

Energy Credits.
This one is often overlooked. If you made energy improvements to your home that help your energy efficiency, you could qualify for a tax credit.

Job Hunting Costs. 
Company drivers who looked for a new position in a similar line of work can often deduct the costs related to job-hunting costs as an expense. Remember, even if you didn’t land the new job, the expenses can be written off. Some qualifying expenses might include:

  1. Transportation expenses at $0.54 per mile, plus parking and tolls
  2. Food and lodging expenses
  3. Cab costs
  4. Print-related costs
  5. Postage and employment agency fees

Tip #2. Invest in Yourself and Your Family.

If you invest in a retirement plan or IRA, you may receive up to $1,000 credit on your tax filing.

Tip #3. Commonly Overlooked Expenses.

Company drivers report their expenses on the Schedule A which allows the taxpayer to itemize all their expenses. If a company driver incurs expenses for their truck such as trash bags, paper towels, work gloves, cooking supplies, and more, then the company driver may be able to deduct those expenses.

Other commonly overlooked expenses that company drivers may have purchased, but didn’t feel they should deduct on their Schedule A include:

  1. GPS and other map-related items
  2. Smartphone and all communication related expenses
  3. Oil and other truck-related expenses the company did not pay for
  4. Office supplies kept in the truck
  5. Any clothing you need specifically for the truck -- boots, uniforms, gloves etc.
  6. Tools such as screwdrivers, tire pressure gauge, and wrenches
  7. Work-related fees such as DOT physical, CDL License, drug testing, ATM fees, faxing, etc.

Tip #4. Keep Your Receipts.

All professional drivers need to keep receipts related to their job. Whether it’s an envelope in the truck, or a container at home, drivers may be able increase their refund or reduce their tax liability, but the IRS wants drivers to keep a record. ATBS recommends drivers save tax-related paperwork for at least 5 years.

Tip #5. Hire a Professional.

There is no science to preparing taxes -- rather, it is an art.  With an IRS tax Code that exceeds 79,000 pages, professional drivers should consider consulting with an expert team who knows about company driver tax returns and owner-operator tax returns. Experts can identify not only an optimal tax preparation, but can also advise on things you can do this year to positively impact your taxes for the following year.  This type of proactive advice can help taxpayers.

Remember, company drivers can itemize their expenses if he or she has enough expenses that ultimately exceed the standard deduction they qualify for. Be sure to ask your tax professional, or an ATBS tax consultant, how your filing status may change the deduction amounts. They may increase as you choose to file single versus jointly. You can reach ATBS by calling our main line, 888-640-4829.

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Deb Tibbits, ATBS Senior Tax Accountant.

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