Truck Driver Tax Deductions
Truck Driver Meal Deductions 2013
You can deduct the cost of meals in either of the following situations.
1) It is necessary for you to stop for substantial sleep or rest to properly perform your duties while traveling away from home on business.
2) The meal is business-related entertainment.
Generally, you can use the "standard meal allowance" method as an alternative to the actual cost method. It allows you to use a set amount for your daily meals and incidental expenses (M&IE), instead of keeping records of your actual costs. The set amount varies depending on where and when you travel. The "standard meal allowance" refers to the IRS meal allowance rate for M&IE. If you use the standard meal allowance, you still must keep records to prove the time, place, and business purpose of your travel
Special rate for transportation workers. You can use a special standard meal allowance if you work in the transportation industry. You are in the transportation industry if your work:
A) Directly involves moving people or goods by airplane, barge, bus, ship, train, or truck, and
B) Regularly requires you to travel away from home and, during any single trip, usually involves travel to areas eligible for different standard meal allowance rates.
If this applies to you, you can claim a standard meal allowance of $59 a day ($65 for travel outside the continental United States).
Using the special rate for transportation workers eliminates the need for you to determine the standard meal allowance for every area where you stop for sleep or rest. If you choose to use the special rate for any trip, you must use the special rate (and not use the regular standard meal allowance rates) for all trips you take that year.
Travel for days you depart and return. For both the day you depart for and the day you return from a business trip, you must prorate the standard meal allowance (figure a reduced amount for each day). You can do so by one of two methods.
Method 1: You can claim 3/4 of the standard meal allowance.
Method 2: You can prorate using any method that you consistently apply and that is in accordance with reasonable business practice.
Jen is employed in New Orleans as a convention planner. In March, her employer sent her on a 3-day trip to Washington, DC, to attend a planning seminar. She left her home in New Orleans at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and arrived in Washington, DC, at 5:30 p.m. After spending two nights there, she flew back to New Orleans on Friday and arrived back home at 8:00 p.m. Jen's employer gave her a flat amount to cover her expenses and included it with her wages.
Under Method 1, Jen can claim 2½ days of the standard meal allowance for Washington, DC: 3/4 of the daily rate for Wednesday and Friday (the days she departed and returned), and the full daily rate for Thursday.
Under Method 2, Jen could also use any method that she applies consistently and that is in accordance with reasonable business practice. For example, she could claim 3 days of the standard meal allowance even though a federal employee would have to use Method 1 and be limited to only 2½ days.
To use the meal deduction you or your tax preparer will need to know how many days you were out of town. The most accurate way to do this is by going back thru your log books and counting the days you were away from home. This will take a little time but the deduction can be worth hundreds of dollars of tax savings. To save some time in next years tax preparation try keeping track of your days out in a notebook on a weekly basis. You will still need to save your log books in case of a tax audit in the future.
This is intended as a guide for deductions you may be able to take. Consult a tax preparer for other deductions you are eligible to take.