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Tax Tips
It’s not too early to get ready for tax season

By Howard Abrams
PBS Tax & Bookeeping


Q: I’m worried about my taxes. Is there still time for tax planning this late in the year?

A: You bet. There is still time to do a tax projection to see what planning needs to be done. You can accelerate some of your trucking expenses to reduce income. If you are short of cash, you can put them on a credit card and get the deduction in 2009.

Or, you might shift some of your trucking expenses to 2010 if your tax situation is favorable, which will have the potential of reducing income in 2010. If you buy a truck or other vehicle to help you in your business, you must put it into service before Jan. 1, 2010, to get the tax deduction in 2009.

There is still time to contribute to a retirement plan. The largest contributions are available from the Solo 401(k) and Keogh plans.  

Those plans must be in force from prior years or you can open a new one by Dec. 31, 2009. You don’t need to contribute until the due date of the 2009 income tax return, including extensions. You have until April 15, 2010, for IRA contributions, and for SEP IRA you have until the due date of the return, including extensions.

Q: What information is needed to prepare my income taxes?

A: We get many requests from clients as to what is needed for us to prepare their income tax returns. Most tax preparers have an income tax organizer, which lists everything that is needed for the preparation of an income tax return.

  1. W-2s;
  2. 1099s from all your employers – i.e., people that you have hauled for, brokers, motor carriers and your independent business;
  3. 1099s or end-of-year statements from banks for interest and dividend income, brokers for stock information, mutual funds, 401(k) and IRA distributions, and mortgage interest statements;
  4. Schedule K-1 if you are involved in any partnerships or S-corporations;
  5. W-2P or 1099-R for pension and annuity income;
  6. 1099s and year-end statements for unemployment compensation, Social Security income and state tax refund;
  7. Contracts for the purchase and sale of equipment;
  8. Escrow statements for the purchase and sale of property;
  9. Confirmations from charities for donations of $250 or more. Written receipt from charity or bank record for donations for under $250;
  10. Nights away from home;
  11. Separate all your business expenses by category such as fuel, parts, repairs, tires, insurance, telephone, tolls, supplies and loading & unloading expenses. Your expenses should come from checks written, cash spent, credit card statements and deductions from settlements. Since we normally use nights away to compute meal expense, you don’t need to save meal receipts. Your logbook will suffice;
  12. Indicate if you have or are going to make any contributions to an IRA, SEP, Simple IRA, Keogh and/or UNI 401(k) plans;
  13. Indicate any estimated taxes paid with corresponding dates. LL

NOTE: If you are a company driver, most of the above applies to you. You too will have business expenses and nights away. You will need to deduct any reimbursements you received, if you are claiming business expenses.

Everyone’s financial situation is different. This article does not give and is not intended to give specific accounting and/or tax advice. Please consult with your own tax professional.

This article is written by PBS Tax & Bookkeeping Service, a company that has been providing income tax and bookkeeping services to the trucking industry for more than a quarter-century. If you would like further information, please contact PBS at 800-697-5153 or see their Web site at