Trucking bookkeeping is among the most crucial tasks of successful owner/operators. The records and receipts kept are utilized in some aspects of your business – income tax minimization and reporting, warranty problems, monthly profitability, and maintenance information, just to name a few.
Here are some important tips to ensure that the IRS doesn’t take a bigger bite out of your bottom line:
- Save Everything – Put an envelope inside the truck for gathering your receipts or utilize the dedicated folders on your laptop or in the cloud for e-receipts. Have them available for your month-to-month profit-and-loss statement and quarterly tax estimates. Even a scanned image of a receipt can be considered a proper record in a pinch.
- Open A Separate Account – If you are an Owner Operator, open up an extra personal account, then save yourself the additional fees which are related to business accounts. Deposit all settlement checks into that account, then pay yourself for driving from that money. Pay all business costs from that account. Having a different account also will provide you convenient accessibility to necessary information in case you’re audited.
- Use a Credit Card – this may seem like a no-brainer, but you should always look for a credit card that has the lowest interest rate available and no annual fee. Make a concerted effort to pay it in full each month as well.
- Log It – Your Electronic Logging Device is always going to be the most accurate record you have for mileage and hours on the road and is crucial for per diems and meal expenses as well.
- Carry a Notebook – in addition to your Electronic Logging Device, it is always a good idea to carry and use a notebook to keep track everything else for which you can’t get a receipt, like when you wash the truck at a coin-operated center or business usage of your personal car.
- Keep It All – Anything you saved, compiled and used for a valid record for your tax return must be saved for a period of three years from that filing date.