Owner Operator

February 2013

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/103886

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OWNER OPERATOR SOLUTIONS The Leader in Business Services for Transportation How to Trim the IRS' Cut of Your Trucking Earnings A s an Owner-Operator, you wear a lot of hats. For much of the time, you're a truck driver. At other times, you're an accountant, purchaser, salesman and more. It all adds up to a lot of work to keep an income coming in and stay away from having a boss. Unfortunately, while Uncle Sam doesn't help you do your job, he's first in line when the checks come rolling in. He'll become an unwelcome guest in your life very quickly if you don't pay taxes on your earnings, which may seem a bit unfair. Yet, you can limit the cut that Uncle Sam takes from your earnings with careful planning and tax filing. How can you trim the IRS' cut of your trucking earnings? Let's explore some deductions that you can claim. Diesel and Truck Expenses Anything you need to keep your truck on the road can be deducted on your tax return. For example, if you purchase new tires or have the engine repaired, these costs can be deducted. Note that the item must generally be necessary, so custom ad-ons typically won't qualify. You can also deduct diesel expenses on your tax return. That should come as a major relief, given that most truckers spend tens-ofthousands of dollars on this valuable liquid! Dining and Lodging Expenses Every trucker needs to eat and sleep on the road. Yet, whether or not these expenses can be deducted is a bit tricky. This issue depends on whether or not you have a tax home. According to Scott Christiansen, tax specialist for EQUINOX OwnerOperator Solutions, "Drivers can deduct motel charges during a layover as long as they have a tax home and do not live in their truck. If they have a tax home, the driver can also deduct the actual cost of meals while traveling away from home or use the standard meal allowance. The IRS allows a special standard meal allowance of $59 per day for those who work in the transportation industry." Home Expenses According to Mr. Christiansen, you can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes if you own a home. This is the case whether you park your truck on the front lawn or in a lot 3 towns over. / OWNER OPERATOR/ FEBRUARY 2013 / / 46 OO0213_text2.indd 46 1/4/13 11:35 AM

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