Thursday, June 11, 2015

Recordkeeping: Do's and Don'ts

Since being on the road is your profession, it can be hard to find both the time and the space to keep proper records.

We know you’re busy, and it’s easy to just toss old receipts on the dash of your truck and go about your business, thinking that you’ll organize them later. More often than not, this leads to receipts and important information being either lost or misplaced.

Ever been audited by the IRS? What about you base jurisdiction? Well if you have, we’re sure that you don’t want to go through that again, and if you haven’t, well, you’ll just have to take our word for it.

The best way to avoid or quicken the process of an audit is to keep accurate records. That way, if there’s anything that the IRS is questioning, you have it right there in front of you and can show the proper documentation for any inconsistencies.

If you’re confused about what you should be keeping a record of, no worries, just keep reading and we’ll tell some do’s and don’ts of keeping records for the trucking industry, and how we can help make the process easier.

Do’s and Don’ts of Good Recordkeeping

Do: Keep record of all of your fuel purchases, including the amount, type of fuel purchased, name and address of the gas station, cost per gallon, total sale amount, and the original receipt.

Don’t: Try to recreate a fuel transactions record by combining a sloppy pile of balled up fuel receipts. Losing just one of those receipts can cost you hundreds out of your own pocket.


Do: Keep track of the total distance you have driven, including your mileage driven in each jurisdiction, the routes you drove, and any out-of-route mileage accrued.

Don’t: Record estimated mileage as actual mileage, as this can not only leave out the miles you drive, but can also make you deviate the details of your trip. Detours are fine, just be sure to record them and do it accurately when you do.


Do: Keep track of all tax records, including records from returns for your previous three years. It is required by the IRS that records must be kept for all taxable highway vehicles in your name for at least three years after the date that the tax is either due or paid, whichever one is later.

Don’t: Assume that if you’ve paid your HVUT for the past year that you are in the clear. If you’ve ever been audited by the IRS, then you know that it’s not a fun process, and without three years of Schedule 1’s in your truck, it could happen any time you stop to weigh-in.


Do: Keep truck maintenance records and service records so that you know when your truck needs to be serviced for any reason. Trucking is your livelihood, so why not take all necessary steps to ensure that the life of your truck is as long as possible.

Don’t: Try to remember maintenance and service on your own in your head. Not keeping up with routine maintenance when it’s necessary can lead to major and costly problems down the road for your truck.


Do: Be sure to keep track of your logbook accurately, because an unkept logbook can spell disaster for an independent trucker. It is required that truckers keep a logbook that tracks their location and the time spent both on and off duty.

Don’t: Try to remember the details to add in your logbook later or input information into your logbook that you are not sure is accurate. Falsifying a logbook is a serious offense, and the DOT can prosecute drivers that do so.


Do: Keep track of other job-related expenses. In addition to fuel receipts, there are many other miscellaneous expenses that are incurred by truckers. For example, CAT scale charges, meals, lodging, or anything else that you ultimately expect to be reimbursed for.

Don’t: Lose a receipt of any type. Lost receipts equal lost money, and nobody likes losing money. So find an effective way to keep track of all of your receipts while you are on the road.


There are a lot of records that must be kept as a truck driver or owner-operator and keeping them can be quite a hassle. If you’re tired of dealing with this hassle all by yourself, then we’ve got good news for you.

At TSNAmerica, we’ll let you know what you need to keep track of and the best way to do it, so that you can focus on the road. If you have any questions about the types of records you should be keeping, you can email us at, or give us a call at 803.386.0320.

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