Tax season is quickly approaching and regardless if you are an OTR company driver or not, one thing is certain…taxes are due April 15th! Company drivers will typically receive their W-2 (wage and tax statement) from their employers around the end of January and can then begin to fill out the appropriate forms to file their taxes. There are many ways to prepare ahead of time to make this tax season go as smoothly as possible while maximizing your return.
Tax laws and regulations can vary based on a variety of factors including where you live and your filing status. This blog is for informational purposes only and has not been reviewed by a licensed CPA. If you are uncertain about how to file your tax return you should consider hiring a professional.
Know your deductions
As a company driver, or any taxpayer for that matter, you want to be sure to receive as many deductions as possible in order to reduce your taxable income. The rules are relatively simple for a company driver, remember you can NOT deduct expenses you were already reimbursed for.
Common Company Driver Deductions:
- Cell phone and internet plans
- Licensing fees
- Medical exams
- Technological equipment – GPS, iPad, Phone
- Practical clothing, flashlights, safety equipment, PPE
Common Non-Trucking Deductions:
- Child and dependent care credit
- Adoption tax credit
- Lifetime learning credit
- Energy credit
- Charitable contributions
- Check here for a complete list of deductions
Gather receipts and forms
When you receive your W-2 you can find your listed income and annual wages. If you plan on filing yourself you will use the information on the W-2 to fill out the 1040 or 1040A forms. You can also use the 1040EZ if you make less than $100,000 annually, are single or married filing jointly, and choose not to itemize your deductions. Considering how useful claiming deductions can be for drivers, use the 1040EZ with caution.
File before April 15th!
Filing can be done online or through the mail as long as it’s done by April 15th. With a bit of good recordkeeping and a night’s worth of homework you should know your deductions and if you are going to be getting a refund or have to send a check to uncle sam. At the end of the day filing taxes is certainly not as exciting as driving a big rig so make sure you pay attention to the details and if you find yourself lost in the woods you can always consider hiring a tax professional.