Owner-Operator Truck Driver Tax Deductions

Updated: May 5

Owner-operators are not just responsible for calculating and paying their own taxes, they’re also responsible for deducting expenses, which can significantly lower their tax burden. Because of this, we often get asked about the common tax deductions that owner-operators can take advantage of. In this article, we will help answer this question by discussing five of the most overlooked owner-operator truck driver tax deductions.


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Update: On your 2020 tax return, you can now deduct up to $300 of qualifying charitable cash contributions. Even if you don't itemize your deductions, you can take a charitable deduction for cash contributions made before December 31, 2020. This will help lower your adjusted gross income and taxable income translating to tax savings. In 2021, this has been adjusted to $300 per taxpayer, so if you are Married Filing Jointly it’s a maximum deduction is $600.


Truck Supplies

Many of the truck supplies that you need can be deducted, lowering your taxable income. A few examples of the supplies that can be deducted are:

  • Chains

  • Fire Extinguisher

  • Ice Scraper

  • Coffee Pot

  • Atlas

If the supplies are common to your profession and appropriate or helpful in developing or maintaining your business they can be considered tax deductible.


Owner-Operator Studying Truck Driver Tax Deductions

Office Supplies

Office supplies are tangible and traditional items regularly used in offices by businesses or organizations. A few examples of the office supplies that can be deducted are:

  • Calculator

  • Paper

  • Pens

  • Envelopes

  • Stapler

Any office supplies that were used during the year that were needed to help run the business side of your trucking operation can be considered tax deductible.


Maintenance

Generally, if a maintenance repair makes the equipment better, restores the equipment back to its normal condition, or modifies the property for a new or different use, then the expense can be depreciated over several years. Maintenance expenses that don’t fall under these categories can be deducted in full in the same year the expense was paid. A few examples of maintenance expenses that can be deducted are:

  • Repairs

  • Parts

  • Labor

  • Oil

  • Tires

A simple rule of thumb when it comes to maintenance expenses is “If you repair stuff, you can deduct it”.


Personal Supplies

Not all personal supplies are considered tax deductible. In order for personal supplies to be considered tax deductible they have to be ordinary and necessary for operating your business. A few examples of personal supplies that can be deducted are:

  • Uniforms

  • Gloves

  • Motel

  • Boots

  • Showers

This is a broad tax deduction category that you will really have to think about. Keeping in mind the words ‘ordinary’ and ‘necessary’ will make it easier to decide whether or not an item is tax deductible.


Communication

Similar to the previously mentioned truck driver tax deductions, any technology needed for communication in order to run your business can be considered a deductible expense. As a truck driver, there are many methods of communication that you will be able to deduct from your taxes. A few examples of communication that can be deducted are:

  • CB Radio

  • ELD

  • Cell Phone

  • Internet

  • Radio

Keep in mind that these methods of communication need to be used strictly for business. If you use an item for both business a