Make Tax Season Simple with Early Preparation
WHAT MAY BE DEDUCTIBLE
Company drivers may not have the same expenses as an owner-operator, but here is where those logbooks and restaurant receipts come in handy. Drivers may deduct a percentage of the amount they spend on meal expenses and other living expenses when traveling if they are away overnight from their tax home, usually considered their home terminal. This deduction can be up to 50 percent of the actual cost of expenses for those who keep their receipts, or a standard deduction of $59.00 per day for those who do not. It may be necessary to prove those days on the road, which is why keeping those logbooks is important.
Drivers should also remember that if the company reimburses an expense, it is not deductible.
PREPARE FOR 2012
For those who have failed to keep receipts for the last year, or who have failed to keep proof of location for the standard deduction, there is still hope for next year. Start a simple file box for keeping receipts in 2012. This can be a regular box that file folders can fit into, with a handle for easy transfer from truck to truck or truck to house. Label several folders with what the receipts are for, including meals, hotels, reimbursable expenses, incidentals and, for owner-operators, fuel and maintenance. Make copies of all receipts sent into the company and file them in the appropriate folder.
Once a week, total up the receipts on the inside of the folder and paperclip the totaled ones to keep them separate from the next week's receipts. At the end of the year, all receipts will be pre-totaled and organized, making tax time a breeze.