top of page

The Top 25 Ways for Owner-Operators to Save Money on Taxes

Updated: Feb 7

1. Work With a Trucking Tax Professional

Running a business is difficult. It’s even harder when you’re on the road driving all day. Having someone who can help you run the business side of trucking can be a big asset. Don’t work with just any accountant - work with tax professionals in the trucking industry. Learn More

2. Keep Your Accountant Updated

If you’re working with a tax professional, make sure you’re keeping them updated throughout the year and not just at tax time. If there are any big career changes or personal life changes, make sure you’re letting your tax preparer know so they can plan accordingly when it comes time to file your taxes. Learn More

ATBS 25th Anniversary Logo

3. File on Time

Even if you cannot pay taxes owed, filing your tax return on time is the best course of action. From the first day after the filing deadline, the IRS will assess a penalty if you fail to file your taxes on time. Learn More

If you’re an owner-operator that’s tired of handling paperwork, ready for more free time, and wants to pay less in taxes, click here to get started!

4. Pay Your Taxes Quarterly

If you fail to pay your quarterly estimated taxes, you will be faced with a large one-time tax payment when you file your taxes. Additionally, you may be charged a late payment penalty. Learn More

5. Start Your Taxes Early

Starting your taxes early eliminates the stress of the impending tax deadline and gives you time to plan, rather than rush around the deadline. Learn More

6. Stay Organized Throughout the Year

Keep track of all of your finances and documents throughout the year. This gives you the best chance of paying as little as legally possible to the IRS. It can be stressful and inefficient to try and chase down all of your tax information when it comes time to file, and it may cause you to misplace important tax information. Learn More

7. File as the Correct Type of Business

Depending on the level of consistent income, it may be a tax advantage for an LLC to elect to be taxed as an S-Corporation. However, if that income level is not high enough, an LLC electing to be taxed as an S-Corporation may cost more than the savings received in taxes. Learn More

8. Get Caught up if You’re Behind

It is never a good idea to avoid filing your taxes. You may think that you can sidestep these responsibilities without too much consequence, but the truth is you will be penalized. The taxes owed will not go away, and your debt to the IRS will grow every day you fail to file. Learn More

9. Take Advantage of Your Tax Deductions

A tax deduction happens when you have a tax-deductible expense or an exemption. This reduces your overall taxable income. Learn More

10. Take Advantage of Your Tax Credits

Tax credits work very differently than tax deductions. Tax credits will reduce your tax liability instead of reducing taxable income. Learn More

11. Accurately Track Your Per Diem

Per Diem (per day) is one of your largest tax deductions as an owner-operator, but what is it exactly? In its simplest terms, the Per Diem deduction is a tax deduction that the IRS allows to substantiate ordinary, and necessary, business meal and incidental expenses paid, or incurred while traveling away from home. Learn More

12. Choose the Correct Tax Filing Status

As a married taxpayer, you have two choices: Married Filing Jointly and Married Filing Separately. Generally, Married Filing Jointly will work out better for a taxpayer, but not always. Learn More

13. Keep a Tax Calendar

As a self-employed truck driver, there are many tax deadlines you have to be aware of, aside from just the tax filing deadline. Make sure you’re keeping a tax calendar so you’re filing your taxes and making your quarterly estimated tax payments on time. Learn More

14. Maintain Good Bookkeeping Habits

Bookkeeping allows you to understand your business and keep track of your revenue and expenses all year. This reduces the chance of errors during tax season since you won’t be scrambling to do your bookkeeping all at once. This way, you can also find all the legal deductions you are entitled to, so you don’t pay more in taxes than you have to. Learn More

15. Keep Up With Tax Law Changes

Make sure you’re staying up to date on the significant changes that happened over the year that could affect your tax return. You could miss out on tax savings or make a mistake on your return if you aren’t paying attention. Learn More

16. Keep Your Documents

It is recommended to keep your tax documents for at least seven years. This includes any receipts, forms, and statements related to income, deductions, and credits. If the IRS conducts an audit and you don't have documentation to back up your tax claims, it can be extremely difficult to prove that the agency made a mistake. Learn More

17. Amend Your Taxes if Needed

You should file an amended tax return to correct errors or make changes to your original tax return. For example, you should amend to change your filing status or to correct your income, deductions, or credits. Learn More

18. Contribute to Your Retirement Funds

Contributions that you make towards a traditional IRA are considered tax deductible. You can contribute up to $6,000 per year across all IRAs in your name and if you are over the age of 50, you can make an additional $1,000 contribution for a total of $7,000 per year. Learn More

19. Extend Your Due Date if Needed

Filing an extension is a great option to avoid penalties and late fees. It’s important to remember that just because you file a six-month extension, doesn’t mean you have an extension on paying any taxes that you owe. Learn More

20. Know Whether to Itemize or Take the Standard Deduction

Although it’s rare, when your itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction, it may be beneficial to itemize your tax deductions. This could include expenses such as mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and state and local taxes. Learn More

21. Understand Depreciation and Section 179

Section 179 doesn’t increase the total amount you can deduct, but it does allow you to get your entire depreciation deduction in one year, rather than taking it a little at a time over the term of an asset’s useful life. Learn More

22. Properly Calculate the Child Tax Credit

One of the most important tax credits for parents is the child tax credit. Starting with tax year 2018, the child tax credit will give parents a $2,000 tax credit for each child dependent. Learn More

23. Ask Questions

As an owner-operator, you have mastered the art of driving a truck. However, you may not be an expert on filing taxes, and that’s OK! Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions to trucking industry tax professionals on things that you are unsure about. Learn More

24. Don’t Believe Myths

There are many tax myths you might hear on the radio or while at the truck stop. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you are working with a trusted tax professional who will be able to clear up any confusion you might have on things you hear while out on the road. Learn More

25. Keep Taxes in Mind Throughout the Year

The best way to file your taxes on time and save money is to keep taxes in mind throughout the year. The best way to do this is by working with a tax professional like ATBS.

At ATBS we work with you throughout the entire year, not just at tax time. If you dread paperwork, let ATBS handle it for you with just the touch of a button via the ATBS Hub!

Once you send off your receipt or settlement statement, you no longer have to worry about it. We will then take the financial documents you send via the ATBS Hub and organize them.

Then when it comes time to file your taxes, we will have everything we need to do it quickly and easily. Because of this, ATBS finds missing deductions for over 90% of their clients!

If you’re an owner-operator that’s tired of handling paperwork, ready for more free time, and wants to pay less in taxes, click here to get started!

1,943 views0 comments


bottom of page