Tax Resolution for Truck Drivers

Updated: Apr 28

Download our complete "Tax Resolution Guide for Owner-Operators" by clicking here!


Are you worried about your past-due taxes? If so, you’re not alone!


IRS non-compliance is a major problem among independent contractors in the trucking industry, as well as virtually all industries where there are independent contractors. Why is it such a common problem? For truckers, there are a few reasons:

  • No one teaches truckers about taxes before they become business owners

  • Bookkeeping is hard and boring, so it’s easy to fall behind on the road

  • Because drivers fall behind on bookkeeping, they tend to fall behind on paying and filing taxes too

All of that adds up to drivers falling behind with the IRS and getting saddled with back taxes, which is a big problem.

Trucker Working on Tax Resolution

So, what should you do if you are behind with the IRS? You may hear all kinds of advice out there, but the reality is that much of what you hear is either incorrect, misguided, or not appropriate for owner-operators in the trucking industry. If you’re a trucker who needs help with tax resolution, then we recommend following ATBS’ Proven Path to getting out of debt with the IRS. Let us show you how!


This path is deceptively simple, but trust us: The devil is in the details! The ATBS Proven Path is as follows:

  1. Become IRS Compliant

  2. Negotiate with the IRS (if needed)

  3. Manage IRS Compliance

The ATBS Proven Path works because it gets you into a position where the IRS will negotiate with you in the first place, then you can focus on having a successful negotiation with the IRS, and then you learn to manage your taxes so you never fall behind again.


Now let’s discuss each of these in more depth.


Become IRS Compliant

So what does it mean to be “Compliant” with the IRS? It’s actually fairly simple:

  1. You need to pay your taxes on time each quarter (four times per year).

  2. You need to file your tax return on time each year.

It seems simple but in reality, it’s very hard to stay compliant, especially as an Owner-Operator in the trucking industry.


If you can manage your compliance, then you’ll live in a world where the IRS is no more than an afterthought.


Let’s identify a few situations that cause people to be non-compliant with the IRS:

  • Drivers can’t pay the full amount of their quarterly tax amount due

  • Drivers wait to pay their taxes until their annual tax return, and they can’t afford to pay

  • Drivers can’t file their annual tax return on time

These are all very common problems. To stay ahead of these as best you can...

  • Don’t underestimate your quarterly taxes (also known as QTE’s)

  • Pay as much as possible for your QTE’s if you can’t pay the full amount due

  • File your annual tax return even if you can’t pay the full amount

  • If there’s no chance you’re going to be able to file on time, request an extension

So, as you can see, there are ways for you to mitigate major damage to your IRS compliance if you run into issues. However, the best thing you can do is make sure you never put yourself in a situation where you have to use any of these tactics! Which brings us to our next topic.


Negotiate with the IRS (if needed)

Alright, let’s talk about what happens when you aren’t able to stay ahead of Compliance problems with the IRS. This tends to be one of the least understood topics related to taxes and the IRS: What exactly happens if I don’t pay or file my taxes?


First things first, let’s get a common misconception out of the way right now:


The IRS WILL NOT negotiate with you on your tax balance due until you become compliant


Why? Because until you show the IRS that you’re willing and able to get caught up on your taxes, they have no interest in negotiating the balance due. So, the first step in the ATBS Proven Path is to Become IRS Compliant, and beyond that, also prove to the IRS that you’re willing to reform yourself to avoid falling behind in the future.


Let’s walk through a few topics to help you Become IRS Compliant and complete Step #1 of the ATBS Proven Path.

  1. You need to commit to reforming yourself in the eyes of the IRS

  2. You need to get caught up on filing your taxes