Filing My Own Taxes As A Company Driver

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Aaron M.'s Comment
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Heys guys, I'm new here but I have been reading the forums for a while. I love this site.

I tried doing a search for a similar topic but I couldn't find the right topics so forgive me if this has already been addressed before but I am looking to file my own taxes.

I currently work at Swift as a company reefer driver. Been with them since September 2016. I do like the work. Anyways, prior to this I've never done trucking before so filing my own taxes was a very simple affair.

However, I have heard that it is a bit different with trucking. I do not give into per diems, I have no kids, I'm not married and I don't own a home.

I wanted to use turbo tax to file. Is it an easy process or must I go to a professional like H&R BLOCK? Thanks for any help I can get.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Do you have a HOME that you go back to on home time?

You can TAKE THE PER DIEM DEDUCTION, but you have to itemize. Depending on days you spent out - this can result in a SIGNIFICANT TAX SAVINGS (ie: a REFUND of taxes withheld on your checks).

There are also many other non-reimbursed expenses that you can deduct (assuming you held onto receipts to prove the expense) - even for a COMPANY DRIVER.

It's worth looking into. Example: if you spent 300 days on the road last year - and took the Per Diem Deduction for those 300 days, you would be able to take some $15K of your gross income, OFF YOUR TAXABLE INCOME (which obviously means, you don't have to pay TAXES ON IT).

Driving OTR is a lot different from working the parts counter, or the deep fryer. You don't just file a 1040EZ and let Uncle Sam keep ALL OF IT.

Rick

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Aaron M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for that reply!

Yes, I have a home. I actually still live with my folks but I hope to change that very soon. I kept some of my receipts (if I remembered to keep them). So to keep the per diem deduction means I am NOT paying into it with my company?

Could I file using turbo tax?

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

Reaper's Comment
member avatar

Not to hijack would it be worth using the companys account prime offers? I know this is swift but i was curious as well.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for that reply!

Yes, I have a home. I actually still live with my folks but I hope to change that very soon. I kept some of my receipts (if I remembered to keep them). So to keep the per diem deduction means I am NOT paying into it with my company?

Could I file using turbo tax?

Not sure if Turbo Tax cheap/free version handles the itemized deduction schedule you would need to use. From a brief search, the Deluxe Edition does.

The largest deduction is the PER DIEM. You don't "pay into it with the company". The company would have paid you a portion of your income as "per diem" - this would have given your more NET $$ on your check, because taxes are not withheld on the per diem amount of your check.

Even if you DO NOT GET PAID PER DIEM PAY from the company - you are ENTITLED TO TAKE THE DEDUCTION.

If you DO get paid per diem, you MUST TAKE IT, so that your net taxable income is PROPERLY REDUCED to compensate for the taxes that weren't taken out of the per diem portion of your check - or you may end up OWING $$ IN TAXES. Per Diem PAY is not FREE MONEY - it is UNTAXED INCOME. It saves THE COMPANY MONEY in matching funds they DO NOT HAVE TO PAY on SS/Medicare taxable income.

You also want to have copies of your logs/e-logs to VERIFY THE CORRECT NUMBER OF FULL DAYS OUT. This is so you use the correct number of days - and so you can prove it in the event you are ever audited.

**********

As a rough example. Say your W-2 had 40,000 as "gross wages" - with standard deduction/exemption ($6,300 + $4,050) - your "taxable income" would be $29,650. If you ITEMIZED and took out the per diem deduction for 300 days (300 X $63 X .8 = 15,120 - more than DOUBLE the "standard deduction of $6,300), you would be entitled to reduce your "taxable income" down to $20,830. So you would be paying taxes on $8,820 LESS INCOME. This saves you $1,320 in taxes (over taking the standard deduction/exemption of a 1040EZ) on the 2016 tax table for single filer.

Note: these are rough numbers based on the PER DIEM DEDUCTION ALONE. Add in other deductible expenses - health insurance, medical costs, cell phone, internet, windex & paper towels - seriously.

If you were withholding based on single exemptions - you would get a real nice(r) chunk of change back, by deducting EVERYTHING YOU CAN PROVE.

***********

Rick

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Not to hijack would it be worth using the companys account prime offers? I know this is swift but i was curious as well.

Stop hijacking Reaper - you have a whole year to figure it out.

rofl-1.gifrofl-1.gifrofl-1.gif

Companys account - or companys ACCOUNTANT? You would only want to use the COMPANYS ACCOUNTANT - if you maybe were LEASING, and EVEN IF (God forbid) you did THAT - you would still be better of finding your own accountant that was familiar with trucking.

Rick

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Aaron.

Since you've only been there since Sept (4 months - sorry, just noticed that) - you probably haven't racked up enough OTR days to make the Per Diem Deduction worth taking.

Even if you had $120 days OTR (never took a day off for 4 months) the PD deduction would be slightly less than the standard deduction.

Might not be worth the hassle of doing a long form 1040 for this year. Depending on how many other deductions you can prove - if it doesn't add up to significantly more than the standard $6,300 deduction - not worth it. But start saving your receipts and logs for next year. Plus the $$ you give an accountant to do your taxes, is also deductible.

Rick

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

Aaron M.'s Comment
member avatar

Awesome! Thank you for those responses. They really helped.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Kat's Comment
member avatar

I use Tax Act online to do my taxes. It handles business expenses and will guide you through things like itemized deductions. It also will import info from year to year. I used to do taxes for H&R Block.

dirtrocker's Comment
member avatar

How would that work if I opted out of receiving per diem on my checks every week? Would I be able to claim it all at the end of the year and get back a good check?

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

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