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Personal Expenses

An expense is personal if it cannot pass the "what if" test. Ask yourself, "What if I didn't have this truck driver job? Would I still incur the expense?"

An item may seem to be a legitimate itemized deduction, but if it cannot pass the "what if" test above, then it is not allowed to be written off as an trucking-related tax deduction on IRS Form 2106. EXAMPLE (haircuts or socks): One could argue that haircuts and socks are ordinary and necessary, but they do not pass the "what if" test above. They are therefore considered a personal expense rather than a legitimate employee business expense and cannot be deducted.

Generally if a clothing item is suitable for wearing outside of the working environment, it cannot be deducted.  For example, if a t-shirt is purchased for work to wear under your uniform shirt, that t-shirt CANNOT be deducted because it is suitable to both work and outside of work.  This leads to many subjective gray areas and they could be scruitinzed in an audit.  The IRS does allow expenses that are partly personal and partly business to be deducted, as long as you properly allocate the business portion of the expense and do not deduct the personal component of the expense.

The best practice is to use your judgement and familiarize yourself with the allowed deductions under IRS Publication 463, IRS Publication 529, and IRS Publication 535.

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