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What are some expenses a truck driver can claim on his taxes?

Asked by: Jesica Hogan 894 views YA Discussion

My dad work for a small company as their long haul driver. He gets full checks from them, no taxes or anything taken out. He wants to know if there’s anything he can claim so he can lower the amount of taxes he has to pay at the end of the year.

Here’s what he pays for out of pocket:

Food
Motels
GPS/Maps

Can he claim any of those? And are there any other tax tips you guys can give for a truck driver?
What is the federal M&IE per-diem rate? I’ve seen people mention it but I have no idea what it is. It seems like it can help him out a lot.

How others found here:

  • Taxes Truck Driver
  • truck driver 2106 expenses
  • what does a truck driver need on his truck

3 Answers



  1. Bostonian In MO on Oct 03, 2012 Reply

    Does he own his own rig? If not, his employer is breaking the law by not withholding any taxes. His first step in that case is to file a Form SS-8 http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss8.pdf with the IRS to get a formal ruling on his status.

    As an employee he can deduct employee business expenses on Form 2106. That flows to Schedule A as a 2% miscellaneous itemized deduction. Motels and meals are deductible if he’s away from home overnight requiring an overnight stay. Meals are deductible at 50% of the actual expense amount. Since he’s in the transportation industry it might be worthwhile for him to use the federal M&IE per-diem rate as it’s more generous and the record keeping is simpler.

    If he owns his own rig then he files Schedule C and claims all reasonable and necessary business expenses there. That would include fuel, maintenance, repairs, taxes, permits, motels & meals, insurance, depreciation, lumpers, etc. He should seriously consider a consult with a local CPA or EA to get his bookkeeping up to speed.

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  2. acmeraven on Oct 03, 2012 Reply

    Go to IRS.GOV and download or order PUB 17 and Sch C & instructions for a full exposure to the situation. In 2011 the per diem for OTR truckers was standard $ 52 times 80% for the transportation industry. You can BING per diem and OTR truckers rate to get this years. Other items, cell phone, motels, safety equipment & supplies, required clothing such as coveralls or gloves.

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  3. tro on Oct 03, 2012 Reply

    he files this income on Sch C and if the net amount, income less business expenses, amount to $ 400 or more he will also file Sch SE where he calculates his self employment tax
    look at Sch C for expenses listed there, and expenses he incurs in the process of his truck driving business that have a business purpose are deductible
    M&IE means Meals and Incidental expenses which apply to the days he is away from home which he needs to keep track of, he does not use these expenses if he is not away from home
    per diem rates can be found a http://www.irs.gov. and they will vary due to the vast difference in the expenses of certain areas, ie. the rates in San Francisco, are way different than those in New Mexico
    you can find a publication at that web site which is designed especially for his kind of occupation, look under publications until you find what you need

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