What Can an OTR Driver Deduct on Taxes?

by Lee Nichols ; Updated July 27, 2017
Truck driver and her truck.

Over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers can take advantage of numerous deductions related to their job. Employees can deduct ordinary and necessary job expenses when filling out income tax returns, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These deductions include anything that has to do with your business of being an OTR employee that is a common and acceptable expense for your trade. If your company reimburses any expense, you cannot claim it on your taxes.

Office Expenses

Your truck is your office if you are an OTR driver. Typical office supplies deductions include pens, paper clips, folders and envelopes. Also deduct any fees for making copies of your paperwork and postage if you must mail your paperwork to your employer. If you subscribe to any trucking magazines, you can deduct the subscription fees. Deduct business-related cell phone expenses and any long-distance charges from a landline from your taxes. You can also deduct any business-related Internet access charges, including air cards and charges from a truck stop Internet kiosk.

Truck Expenses

Even if your company owns your truck, you can deduct any expenses that you have because of it -- this includes your citizens band radio, stereo and speakers and -- if you have them -- your television and refrigerator. Your truck cleaning supplies are deductible as well as cab curtains and mattresses for your sleeper rig. If you purchase chrome items to place on your company truck, you can deduct the cost from your taxes. Tarps, straps and load locks are also deductible unless you receive reimbursement.

Personal Expenses

Uniforms, special footwear -- such as steel-toed boots -- and laundry-cleaning expenses are deductible. Deduct commercial driver's license renewal fees and doctor's fees for your Department of Transportation medical physical. You can deduct the fees for showers and motels while on the road. Prescription glasses are deductible, as is the cost of any nonprescription sunglasses. As of 2012, OTR drivers can claim a $59 per day per diem for any full days they are on the road. You must count the days you leave and the days you return as partial days and prorate your per diem. Retain your logbooks with your tax records for proof of your per diem deduction.

Considerations

Keep all of your receipts for items you buy for your job, truck or self to substantiate your deduction claims in the event of an audit. You must retain records for a minimum of three years, and in certain circumstances, indefinitely. Keep copies of your W-2 forms until you begin receiving Social Security in case the IRS incorrectly documents your wages. The IRS does not specify how you must keep your records, but it recommends that you sort them by year in a manner that will make retrieval of certain records simple.

About the Author

Specializing in business and finance, Lee Nichols began writing in 2002. Nichols holds a Bachelor of Arts in Web and Graphic Design and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Mississippi.

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