Not everyone can drive and operate a forklift. It takes a special skill, training, and an extra cautious mindset to be a safe forklift driver. When it comes to taxes, forklift operators have to know how to drive their way through a rigorous tax code. However, with a little extra help, tax time for forklift operators doesn’t have to be difficult.
You should expect to receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, from your employer. IF you receive any payments or income for services outside of your employer, that money is considered self-employment income. Self-employment income must be reported on a Schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business. Instead of a Form W-2, self-employed forklift operators can expect to receive a 1099-MISC, miscellaneous Income. Earnings over $400 are subject to self-employment tax, which you may be required to pay in quarterly estimated tax payments.
It is possible that you can reduce your tax liability by deducting work related expenses. If you are an employee, you should claim these deductions as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A. Self-employed taxpayers can deduct expenses on a Schedule C. As with all deductions, be sure to keep receipts to prove your expense.
You may be able to deduct:
- The cost of subscribing to a trade publication or journal 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.
As a self-employed operator, you may be entitled to additional deductions when filing a Schedule C. These include:
- 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
Whether an employee or self-employed, you may be able to deduct job hunting expenses if you are temporarily without a job. These expenses have to be incurred while looking for a new job in the same field as your previous job. Holding odd jobs during your period of unemployment does not affect your ability to deduct job hunting expenses.
Additionally, you may be able to deduct expenses incurred in relation to training and education in your line of work. The courses must meet certain requirements in order to qualify for deduction, as they cannot qualify you for a new job or business, or they can’t be necessary for you to establish the minimum qualifications for your current job. Typical education courses that are deductible include refresher courses, classes about the latest technology, and vocational classes.