Making Your Miles Count: taxes, taxes, taxes

Making Your Miles Count: taxes, taxes, taxes

I have had the opportunity to be one of the only authors in Canada to write a book for the Canadian truck driver or Independent Operator. Even though it was published in 2007 it is still highly applicable today. Some of the numbers have changed but only for the better.

Writing a tax book was not a venture into public acclaim. Taxes are not a topic many have written about without having to supply an ample dose of caffeine as a supplement. The Income Tax Act is so dry it must be studied in the shower or else a reader suffers dehydration. Most people end up delegating their taxes to someone else.

Delegating details is totally acceptable, but delegating basic understanding is akin spinning the roulette wheel. If your accountant doesn’t explain the system that saved you taxes, they are not doing their job. If every Accountant used the same reporting system (or plan) for truckers every Accountant would end up with the exact same tax liability, providing of course it was free of error and/or fraud. If every Accountant possessed the same level of competency and used the same system, choosing an Accountant should then be a simple matter of lowest cost. However, Accountants don’t all use the same tax reporting system nor hold the same level of competency.

The book goes into detail about every tax issue Operators are exposed to. One of the primary issues described is the meal expenses on the road. Of all the issues Operators deal with, it represents the topic with the greatest opportunity for saving taxes. The book describes an alternative reporting system to the very popular TL2 simplified method (of which 90%+ of Accountants still use today). It was published just a few months after the denial of the Supreme Court of Canada to hear the appeal of the National Class Action law suit against CRA for discrimination against the industries TL2 “meal allowance”. It was also several months after the passing of the Federal Accountabilities Act which supports the general acceptance of equality of tax treatment. The book describes why the Supreme Court was RIGHT in denying the appeal (enforcing the failure of the Class Action) and then provides the alternative system designed to remedy the discrimination.

If it wasn’t for the implementation and benefits of Non-taxable Benefits to the industry I doubt if I would be able serve it the way I am today. Where the book outlines a theoretical $7,600 per year savings in 2006, today the savings is a proven $12,000+ per year per driver. The basic understanding of how to save taxes as an operator must be understood by an operator. It is not advisable to delegate the UNDERSTANDING of how you save taxes. The NTB system is loaded with liability issues that must be insured, the savings is just too great to leave unattended. If it isn’t guaranteed I don’t recommend using it… stay with the TL2 simplified method then.

The book also deals with the topic of owning verses leasing, an issue fraught with myths and half-truths. Properly understood, it can save an operator tens of thousands of dollars over the average life of a truck.

Robert Scheper

Robert D Scheper has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is the author of two books, “Making Your Miles Count: Taxes, Taxes, Taxes” and "Making Your Miles Count: Choosing a Trucking Company".

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