Tax Tips for Owner-Operators: Tax Preparation for Truck Drivers

The trucking industry is one of the most taxed and regulated industries in the United States. Choosing a competent company to prepare your taxes is needed to avoid audits and stay on track financially. Once your bills are paid you can concentrate on acquiring clients, managing runs, and hiring drivers

Document Your Expenses

Operating a trucking company is expensive. The amount of taxes you pay is dependent on how well you document your expenses. You are entitled to write off the cost of lodging, meals, and fuel, but must be able to account for every penny spent. 

According to, you should require drivers to save receipts for all expenses. This includes expenses as simple as a snack from a gas station. Small items add up to big write-offs if properly documented. The IRS has a detailed guideline  of what you are able to write off. It is important to know the Per Diem for owner/operator truck drivers is $69.00 a day.

Expenses should be categorized. This allows for easier calculations during tax season. There are companies you can hire to keep electronic records of expenses and receipts for you. 

Pay Your Taxes Quarterly

Trucking companies and independent owner-operators are required to pay their taxes quarterly. Many independent drivers will use the 1040ES form to guide them through the process of filing taxes. However, it is intelligent to hire a company specialized in trucking company taxes to prepare your taxes for you. 

Professional accountants often have years of experience with tax forms. They can maximize r tax deductions and stay within the limits of the law. Hiring a professional can mean the difference between paying 25% or 30% of your hard-earned income. 

Other Deductions

There are several other deductions you should be aware of. 

Truck Depreciation and Maintenance 

Like any piece of equipment, trucks wear down over time. Trucks are very expensive, and you should do everything possible to make your rig last as long as possible. You will need to perform consistent maintenance and address any problems that arise. You can write off the cost of repair and maintenance of your trucks. When you list the value of your truck, you should always depreciate for its age.


Fuel is a major and necessary expense for a trucking company. Truck drivers provide products to the public, and are entitled to a tax break for their required fuel. You will pay state taxes on the fuel your trucks use. However, you can also write off some of your fuel expenses. A trucking tax expert will be able to help you with fuel deductions. 


Many tools are used by trucking companies. Each of your drivers has a tool kit in case of a roadside emergency. These tools can become quite costly. Fortunately, you will be given a write-off for all the tools you use in the course of business. You can also write off items such as office equipment and cell phones. The insurance you must buy for your business can also be written off.

Never miss the opportunity to save money. If you know what to write off, you will be able to stop worrying about money and concentrate on making your trucking company the best it can be.