Tax season truckers guide

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So, tax season is here again. Thinking about taxes brings those mixed feelings of love and hate all at once. You are probably getting excited about getting some money back, yet you have to go through hell, a.k.a. tax return procedures, in order to get a hold of them. And actually in many cases, most truckers do no get money back, but rather pay.

As a trucker you get to “enjoy” an even more complicated process of sorting your taxes out, with all the deductions and tax exemptions, and what falls into which category. If it’s your first time going into the tax season as a trucker, or even if you have experience with it, check out our little guide below and feel free to share some personal experiences and advice.

Tax season guide:

  1. Deadlines!
  • Form 2290 can be filed from July 1st through June 30th and it has to be filed for the month that the taxable vehicle was first used on public highways during the above mentioned period.
    • For instance, if your vehicle was first used on a public highway in July, file Form 2290 between July 1st and August 31st
    • If you used your vehicle for the first time on a public highway after July, the tax for the current tax season will be prorated and Form 2290 should be filed the last day of the month following the month in which the vehicle was first used.

 More information on the IRS website.

  1. Make sure you have all the information needed ready to go:
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN), a.k.a. Federal Tax ID number; if you don’t have one, you can apply online, it should take about two weeks for it to be circulating in the IRS system
  • You must use your name control (here you can find more information on what this is) and it must match your EIN
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of each vehicle (if more than one)
  • Taxable gross weight of each vehicle. You can calculate each vehicle’s tax based on its taxable gross weight by using the Tax Computation Table on page two of Form 2290 (Heavy Highway Vehicle Use tax Return)
  1. Time to file:
  • You want faster processing? – Use the IRS E-File system – it’s easy, convenient and most of all – not complicated. By using the e-file procedure, you can get your watermark Schedule 1 (it works as a proof for the payment of your tax liabilities) within minutes. If you happen to be filing for more than 25 vehicles at once, then it is mandatory to use e-file.
  • If you decide to file the good old paper way, you have to complete Form 2290 and send it to one of the following addresses:

Form 2290 with full payment:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 804525
Cincinnati, OH 45280-4525
 

Form 2290 without payment due or using EFTPS for payment:

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Cincinnati, OH 45999-0031

 Here you can find specific instructions on how, when and where to file your Form 2290. After the IRS has received your Form 2290, you can expect to get your stamped Schedule 1 within 6 weeks. 

  1. How to pay? – there are several ways for you to complete your tax payment:
  • If you are filing with e-file, then you can schedule an electronic funds withdrawal to authorize a direct debit from your account
  • Another way will be to go through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) – enrollment in advance is required and if you have just created an account, it can take 5-7 work days for it to take place
  • Let’s not forget the Check or Money Order option by using the Form 2290-V Payment Voucher and mail it to:

 Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 804525
Cincinnati, OH 45280-4525

 As a truck driver, you should not forget to do your deductions. Below is an example of some:

  • Fees
  • Electronics
  • Association dues
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Office supplies
  • Medical exams
  • Postage fees
  • Trucking and business related subscriptions
  • Uniforms
  • Supplies – cab curtains, fridge, bedding, etc.

It is important to have your deductions sorted out right, it is bad to skip some of the deductions that you could have included, but it is even worse to have too many included because you can easily end up with an audit and have to pay even more than you would have originally.

Here are some examples of non-deductible expenses:

  • Any expense that is reimbursed by your employer
  • Non-uniform clothing, i.e. your own clothes
  • Commuting costs, such as parking, tolls, fuel, etc.
  • Anything personal – vacations, home, loans, etc.

Here you can find a more exhaustive list of the truck drivers’ tax deductions.

If you happen to be running late on your tax return filing, remember that you can always extend the application deadline – it is easy and no one will ask you “why” you need an extension. All you have to do is fill out Form 7004 (for your business tax) and Form 4648 (for your personal tax).

Whatever the case, don’t forget that you are required to keep record of all your previously returned 2290s and Schedule 1s for a period of three years, as IRS can request an audit at any point. And of course, if you feel that this might be a bit uphill for you, consider hiring a tax professional, it can save you a lot of time and worries.

What is your experience with taxes? Was it easy to get your taxes back as a trucker or you had some struggles? Do you have any advice for young truckers?

Please, share your experience in the comments!

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About the Author:

Teodora Georgieva - a business and economics graduate with a curious glitch. Don't be fooled! As boring and ordinary the disciplines she studied may look, she is anything but. Born curious and creative, she always thought that there is more to life than what convention demands, which is why she started pursuing photography (in and out of her studies), food-ism and naturalism, yoga and the best of all - writing. Writing can elevate you and it can also bring you down, just like life does, which is why she enjoys it - it's real. You can follow her on her life's endeavors on her instagram profile or her flickr page.
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