Per diem, Standard deduction and itemized

Discussion in 'Trucker Taxes and Truck Financing' started by Buckeye 'bedder, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Buckeye 'bedder

    Buckeye 'bedder Road Train Member

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    The more I read here, the more confused I get from the posts.

    For a driver that doesn't receive per diem pay from a company, and takes the deduction at tax time, can they:

    Claim both the per diem, the (in my case, single) standard deduction and claim the work related gear or unreimbursed expenses you paid for during the year? I would assume that along with the per diem, you can only either claim the standard deduction or itemize those work expenses, not both? Clarity is a good thing. :biggrin_25525:
     
  2. 'olhand

    'olhand Cantankerous Crusty

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    I'm not a company driver but--2 of my nephews and 2 of their buddies are. I just finished helping one of nephews. After a quick look at his deductions--I saw no point in itemizing all his xtras--didn't seem to be close to the allowable 5700 standard. Therefore
    we just added up all his days on road--did the standard 59 per day x 80% thing-added the form 2016ez to his 1040(yes you still must use long form so you can show the perdiem) and left it at that. Hope that helps.
     
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  3. harleyhauler

    harleyhauler Bobtail Member

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  4. buzzarddriver

    buzzarddriver Heavy Load Member

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    You can claim the 5700$ standard deduction, or itemize using the $59/D x .80 on the 2106 and any other misc. deductions you have.
    You cannot claim the Per Diem and use the standard deduction together.
    If you were away from home any more than half the year, you would be $ ahead going with the itemized deuctions.
     
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  5. Buckeye 'bedder

    Buckeye 'bedder Road Train Member

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    Thanks. I read elsewhere on the forum where someone stated the per diem deduction was in addition to your standard deduction. No wonder I get confused. So after 120 days total nights away from home, you will start being ahead of the $5700 standard (singles) deduction? For example, assume I am OTR about 300+ nights in a calender year (home only 50 days a year); I would be able to claim $59/D x 80% = $47.2 x 300 = $14,160 + misc. deductions?
     
  6. buzzarddriver

    buzzarddriver Heavy Load Member

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    Yep, you got it.
    Remember, you also get a deduction for your state/local sales tax by using the sales tax calculator on the IRS site, and a tax credit on the Make Work program(Sched. M) up to $400 based on yor AGI. All these thing's add up to increase that refund.
    I use TaxAct online(FREE) and they cover all the bases to get you as much back as you deserve.
     
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  7. Pur48Ted

    Pur48Ted Road Train Member

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    Your "per diem" is for expenses such as food and/or lodging. You should take the standard daily deduction.
    Work related gear and most other un-reimbursed expenses (not food and/or lodging related) would be a separate deduction.

    It is ALWAYS BEST to not take the "EMPLOYER" supported "per diem".
    Let me explain why:

    1. It REDUCES your GROSS PAY, as well as your tax liability.
    2. By reducing your gross wages, it reduces your Social Security payments, so if you retire or become disabled, your pay will be less.
    3. By reducing your gross wages, it reduces the maximum amount you could claim in unemployment benefits if you are laid off.
    4. By reducing your gross wages, it will reduces the amount you could borrow from a bank to purchase a home or other durable item
    5. By reducing your gross wages, it reduces the amount of money that could be awarded to your family in case you are killed.
    6. By reducing your gross wages, it reduces the money your employer has to pay on your behalf to Social Security, lowers the amount of money he has to pay for Unemployment compensation, Workers Comp and State Disability Insurance on your behalf.
    There are no "real" benefits for the employee to accept the EMPLOYER sponsored "Per Diem" program and those programs only benefits the EMPLOYER.

    Other things you can deduct:
    Cell phone; I usually deduct 1/2 the monthly bill, because I can show at least that much usage is work related
    Internet; I also usually deduct 1/2, because my primary use is work related as well. I use a different internet service when I am home.
    Pet food/supplies; although I haven't used this deduction in a few years
    Cleaning supplies (for truck interior); you should have receipts
    Laundry supplies (and the cost of doing your laundry on the road)
    Extra Health-care costs if you have to use "non-network" health-care services.
     
  8. 'olhand

    'olhand Cantankerous Crusty

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    Thanks for the update--I guess i screwed up--and here I was thinking I was helping the kid--good thing it wasn't filed yet!
     
  9. DavidW71

    DavidW71 Bobtail Member

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    Can a local driver one thats home every nite able to claim the per diem allowance. If he works 12-14 hrs a day so hes only home or off duty basically the mandatory 10 hrs anyway.
     
  10. buzzarddriver

    buzzarddriver Heavy Load Member

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    Local driver's that report to work at the same place each day, and go home each nite, may "Not" claim the per diem deduction.
    In order to use the deduction, the 10 hr break must be taken away from your tax home, and your duty status begins at a place other than your tax home.
    For a better understanding see IRS Pub. 463 and IRS Pub. 17
     
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