Tax Defense Network’s Senior Licensed Tax Professional Jonathan Bochese, and Registered Tax Return Preparer Krystle Hoard were joined by Tom Weakly, Director of Operations for the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA), and Tom Gann, the Corporate Trainer for OOIDA for the foundation’s Business Education Series webinar on December 6, 2012.
The guests discussed finding a tax preparer, and what the owner-operators need to have prepared for that tax professional. Jonathan Bochese stated that if an owner-operator wanted to hire a tax professional to estimate their tax obligation, the owner-operator does not need to bring much to get the estimate, other than any income and expense reports.
Krystle Hoard went on to define what Bochese meant by “expenses” by explaining, not only gross receipts from the truck but operation expenses, such as fuel, tolls, highway use tax, plus any office expenses, equipment, and other assets purchased.
“Figuring the estimated payments can be a lengthy process. We [at Tax Defense Network] have to take your income, expenses, and figure out both the self-employment and the federal tax. Those are calculated separately, and with different percentages. So the best way we deal with it is having a conversation with the driver, figuring out everything we need, and giving them a detailed list of what to either e-mail or fax to us. That can really simplify the process,” Hoard explained.
Gann reiterated that the tax professionals the panel kept referring to were ones that understood the trucking industry and what goes into being an independent owner-operator.
“It is dangerous,” Hoard warned. “You are kind of rolling the dice when it comes to one of these franchises that don’t necessarily have CPAs or Enrolled Agents on staff that are knowledgeable on the trucking industry specifically. We strongly suggest sending your information to a company that specializes in truck drivers.”
Weakly agreed, “As a fleet owner at one time, the more trucks I ran, the more complicated [my taxes] got. You want to get all the [legal] deductions you can, and there were so many I was unaware of. I found a tax specialist myself, and it made life so much easier.”