Tax Deductions for Forklift Drivers

Forklift Driver

Driving a forklift requires training and a careful hand. The same is true when it comes to filing your tax return. The tax code can be confusing, but with a little skill and knowledge, forklift drivers can easily maneuver their way around tax season.

Your employer will provide you with a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, which will list your withholdings and earnings for the year. If you performed any work outside of your regular employer, that income is considered self-employment income, which must be reported on a Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business. Those who are self-employed may receive a Form 1099-Misc, Miscellaneous Income, from those who they serviced. Any net earnings greater than $400 is subject to self-employment tax, which may require you to pay quarterly estimated tax payments to cover the amount you report.

If you incur work-related expenses, you may be able to claim a deduction which will lower the amount you owe in taxes. Employees use Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, to claim these expenses, while self-employed individuals can deduct them right on the Schedule C. Just like other deductions you take, you should always have receipts to document your expenses.

You'll be able to deduct:

  • The cost of trade publication or journal subscriptions related to your work
  • Association or union dues
  • Liability insurance premiums
  • Tools and equipment pertinent to your job that are replaceable within a single year
  • Certain safety equipment - for example: steel toed boots
  • The cost of required uniforms, including upkeep and cleaning, as long as they are not suitable for street or everyday wear - for example: hard hat, work gloves, or goggles.
  • Licensing, regulatory, or flat rate occupational taxes, as long as these expenses are not the original certification fees.

Self-employed forklift drivers are entitled to additional deductions available on a Schedule C as follows:

  • Bad business debts
  • Tool repairs
  • Advertising costs for your business
  • Rental expenses if you use leased property such as a trailer
  • Legal and professional fees, such as attorney or accountant advice
  • Vehicle expenses for traveling between work sites
  • Expenses incurred when traveling away from your business home for longer than a typical day of work, subject to traditional travel expense deduction allowances
  • Supplies and other incidental materials
  • Excise taxes and personal property taxes related to the business

If you're self-employed or an employee, you may be able to deduct expenses related to job searching during periods of unemployment, as long as you are seeking another job as a forklift driver. Holding odd jobs during this temporary unemployment does not automatically disqualify you.

Also, training and education expenses related to work may be deductible if they meet certain requirements. The classes can't qualify you for a new job, and they can't be necessary for you to meet the minimum requirements of your job. Generally, you can deduct refresher classes, vocational courses, and those that update you on the latest developments.