Monthly Archives: December 2013

Deductable Expenses for Tax Year 2013 in Drive-Away.

I have been slogging away at my bookkeeping for our Drive-Away business income and expenses for this year.  If there is one thing I need to impress on a fellow Drive-Away driver it is KEEP ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS!

You don’t have to be as anal about record keeping as I am.  This photo was taken in early November when I came back off the road and got serious about my paperwork. 

Income and Expenses 2013

Income and Expenses 2013

I keep our receipts in a 6-1/2 x 9 inch envelope for every trip we do.  You can use letter sized manila envelopes for each month you are out.  Stuff all of your receipts in the proper month’s envelope.  My method works for me.

Trip envelope with receipts

Trip envelope with receipts

As you probably have questions about what is a deductible expense and what is not I am going to include links to a few websites that can give you a broader idea of the importance of keeping your receipts.  No matter how small the charge is.

CB39 has a wealth of information for the regular truck driver or Owner/Operator.  The information on this website is relevant to Drive-Away.

Rapid Tax has some good information on expense deductions for the trucking industry as well.

The Truckers Report has some fairly good information about deductible expenses.

I AM NOT A TAX PROFESSIONAL.  THE ADVICE GIVEN IN THIS POST IS ONLY FOR YOUR REFERENCE.  YOU WILL NEED TO CONTACT A PROFESSIONAL TAX PREPARER OR CPA.

In Drive-Away you will receive a 1099 Form for the income earned for the tax year.  This 1099 Form does not include taxes withheld as a standard W-4 (it has been so long I don’t even remember what the Form name is – sorry). 

If you do the work ahead of time, as I do, and present your accountant with printouts of your Profit and Loss statements, Trial Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Sheet it is easier and quicker for the Tax Professional to get your taxes prepared.  The cost for this is around $250.

If you rely on your Tax Professional to physically sort through your accumulated receipts to prepare your taxes you can expect to pay upwards of $1,000 – depending on the amount of receipts they have to slog through. 

I have included a few receipts to show you what is used as a deductible expense in Drive-Away.

Receipts accumulated in Drive-Away

Receipts accumulated in Drive-Away

MEALS – There is a daily per diem of $59 per person per day that is an automatic deduction on your taxes.  You don’t necessarily have to record your meal receipts but I do to keep track of our spending.

TIPS – Meal tips are deductible.  It it important to keep track of tips paid for your meals.

Meals and tips receipt

Meals and tips receipt

SCALE TICKETS – This is a normal business expense and is deductible.

Scale ticket

Scale ticket

TOLL RECEIPTS – This is an expense that is generally REIMBURSED by the company you drive for.  However, there are some Drive-Away companies that do not reimburse you for this expense.  You CANNOT use toll expenses that are reimbursed to you in your settlement.

Toll receipts

Toll receipts

FUEL RECEIPTS – The fuel purchases made during your actual working are deductible.  This INCLUDES the deadhead gas/diesel you purchase on your way to the next job.  You cannot use fuel receipts when you are home and using the vehicle for errands  that are not business related.

Fuel receipts

Fuel receipts

Gas/diesel used to get to next job

Gas/diesel used to get to next job

 

HARDWARE, GLOVES, AND TOOLS – Items you purchase on the road to repair or restock your equipment and/or supplies is deductible.

Hardware, gloves, and tools

Hardware, gloves, and tools

FLUIDS – Oil, windshield washer fluid, brake cleaner, ether, and other items you purchase in Drive-Away are deductible. 

Fluid expenses

Fluid expenses

HOTEL – In Drive-Away it is not uncommon to stay at hotels.  Even the most die hard person in the business will opt for a night in a hotel room instead of the bunk of a truck or the front seat of their vehicle.

Hotel receipt

Hotel receipt

ROADSIDE REPAIRS – This is generally a REIMBURSED expense and is not deductible on your taxes.  In the event that you do not get reimbursed for a repair then it is included in your tax preparation.

Roadside repairs

Roadside repairs

TRUCK WASH – This is a deductible expense in Drive-Away.  Especially this time of year with the winter driving on roads treated with chemical de-icers or road salt. 

Truck wash receipts

Truck wash receipts

This is just a sampling of the expenses that are deductible in Drive-Away for income tax purposes.  Make sure to check out the websites I have mentioned at the top of this post.  There are items I have not covered here that are deductible expenses.  Things such as satellite radio, audio books, bank fees, ComData fees, ATM fees when getting cash from a machine.

The more you know the easier you will be prepared for Tax Year 2013 filings.  I hope this information helps you as you prepare. 

Please remember.  It is best to contact a CPA or Tax Professional to answer your questions

Leslie

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Business travelers have an ally in the hotel industry.

I want to introduce you to Corporate Lodging.

The stress of traveling for business is exhausting.  Having meetings to attend, finding the right strategy to win over a new customer, staying involved and on top of your customers to keep them from going to your competition, possibly oversee the supervision of hundreds of employees, or have the onus of being a crisis manager fighting to keep a business viable and away from the maw of bankruptcy.  The one detail on anyone’s mind who travels in business is where they will stay for the night when they reach their destination.

Whether you are a small business owner, an independent truck driver, a contract driver for a Drive-Away company, or someone that does a lot of traveling for a larger company.  Finding a place to lay your weary head at the end of the day is a priority.  While hotel stays can put a big hole in your operating budget this is a necessary expense in some businesses.  The expense of over $2,000 a month for hotel rooms at a budget rate establishment can put a serious dent in your finances.

When I first started going with Joe as a helper in his business as a Contract Driver for Drive-Away in 1999 it usually fell to me to call the various hotels near our nightly destinations.  I would begin making the calls after 11:00 a.m.  I would pepper the poor desk clerk with a myriad of questions.

  • Does the hotel have semi-truck parking available?
  • Do they have a CDL rate?  This is rate strictly for the truck driving industry and is usually 20% to 35% lower than the daily advertised rate of the hotel.
  • If they don’t have a CDL rate, do they have any discounts?
  • Does the hotel allow pets?  Our dog used to travel with us until she had to be put down.

I had a couple of map holders with pockets to tuck state maps away.  The holders would fold up to a neat little packet and could be easily put in a backpack.  I didn’t use the holder for maps.  My holders were crammed full of hotel chain directories.  Each time a hotel chain updated their directory I had to make sure I had the newer version.

After I graduated from being a helper to an actual truck driver in 2001 Joe and I shared the duties of finding a hotel.  I still had to rely on the many directories to find a hotel chain within a city and state we would be ending our day at.  Either I would make the call or I would dictate the phone number over the radio for Joe to call.

Around 2003, I don’t remember who I learned it from, I heard of a company that had discounts for hotels all over the US.  I checked them out on the internet and decided to sign us up.  Once I had an account established with Corporate Lodging we could use the service by printing off the temporary card from the website.  Within a week our actual cards would be waiting for us in our mailbox at home.  For an additional charge of $4.95 I chose to add the directory to my overflowing mass of hotel directories.

I no longer have the directory from Corporate Lodging because they have a smartphone App that will allow me to search for hotels at our destination.  I can see if the hotel has truck parking or not, what their rates are, and how far from an interstate exit they are located.

Currently, I am at home doing my paperwork for the year.  I am in the month of August and had been gathering all of my invoices from the Corporate Lodging website for that month.  We don’t use Corporate Lodging exclusively any longer.  There are many budget hotels that have decent rates.  The few that don’t have a room for less than $75 a night are the ones that we ask if they use Corporate Lodging.

Here is an example of how Corporate Lodging has benefited us in our stay at a Best Western in Portland, Oregon in August.

Best Western Portland, Oregon

Best Western Portland, Oregon

As a member I have access to all of my invoices.  At a glance I can see how often each month we used their services and how much they saved us in room rates.

 

August Corporate Lodging billing

August Corporate Lodging billing

If you do a lot of traveling in your business you might want to check out their website.  This is not a paid advertising for Corporate Lodging.  I just think it is useful to be a member and save a few dollars on your hotel expenses.  Check through their website.  They have accounts with quite a number of the budget hotel chains as well as the more upscale chains.

I will be popping back in from time to time.  I am quite busy getting my business records in order for the tax man in 2014.  Yippy :/

Leslie