Uber Driver Taxes: What Every Uber Driver Should Know

If there’s something that new drivers (and plenty of experienced ones) tend to overlook is taxes.

We understand, preparing your taxes can be intimidating. You have to find and compile your annual earnings, cut a check to the IRS and then have to spend months worried if you filed everything correctly.

However, we’re here to help. Taxes as an independent contractor might seem scary, but they’re pretty straightforward. And when you factor in the exclusive tax deductions rideshare employees are entitled to, it can get pretty exciting.

Let’s talk about taxes! (We promise it’ll be worth your while.)

About Uber Taxes

As a rideshare entrepreneur, you’re employed as an independent contractor. This means that you’re required to file additional forms, and you must set aside money from your earnings. If you were a regular employee, your employer would withhold them for you.

From Uber itself:

“Unlike a traditional full-time or part-time job, Uber does not withhold taxes from your earnings. That’s why the government requires you to pay income tax and self-employment tax every year.” The Uber Partner’s Tax Guide

There are benefits to being an independent contractor though. You can deduct business expenses from your earnings. If you keep track of your mileage and vehicle costs, this can add up to a nice return.

Uber and Taxes

Tax filings for Uber drivers can require more paperwork than other employees. Let’s take a closer look at how the tax filing process for Uber works. These are the documents you will receive from Uber:

  • Tax Summary: an unofficial report produced provided to every driver/deliverer with a breakdown of your annual earnings and deductible business-related expenses.
  • 1099-K: Official IRS tax document that includes all on-trip gross profits. However, you will only get one if you made more than $20,000 and provided at least 200 rides.
  • 1099-MISC: Official IRS tax document with a breakdown of promotion, referral and other payments for the year.

The 2018 Uber Tax Bill

The new tax bill should benefit rideshare drivers. Under the new income tax brackets, you will end up paying less in taxes. That being said, the best tax strategies are still being hashed out.

The Tax Payment Process

We’ve outlined some steps for you to follow when looking to pay your taxes.

  1. Collect your 1099 Form – Rideshare drivers should receive a 1099 form from Uber by January 31st. This shows how much money you made and the fees Uber took from that amount.  It will also display how many miles you’ve driven in the past year as a rideshare employee.
  2. Prepare an Expense List – Compile all of your expenses to maximize the return you get during the tax filing process. This includes money invested in improving your business, such as providing customers with bottles of water, tire changes, and other expenses.
  3. Fill out the Schedule C and Schedule SE Forms – After you have compiled your tax deduction list, fill out the Schedule C and Schedule SE forms.
  4. Calculate Your Total Profit – Use your Uber tax information to calculate your total profit for the past year. Take the total amount you made and subtract Uber fees and your business expenses.
  5. Fill out the Form 1040 – Once you’ve completed your 1099, fill out Form 1040 and pay your applicable taxes online or via mail.

Standard Deductions

As a rideshare driver, there a couple of standard deductions available to you.

  • On Trip Mileage: The Uber tax summary includes a line for “On-Trip” mileage. You can use it to deduct expenses of operating your vehicle. These include Gasoline, Oil Changes, Car Registration, Maintenance, Rideshare Insurance, Depreciation and Lease Payments. You can use the standard IRS mileage deduction or keep track of your miles.
  • Off Trip Mileage: This is any business-related mileage, such as the ones you drove towards ride requests before rides were canceled and after dropping off passengers. However, you must keep careful track of your off-trip mileage records.

Other Tax Deductions

Anything that you spend on maintaining and improving your Uber business can qualify as tax-deductible. This can include:

  • Amenities for customers such as snacks and bottled water.
  • City and airport fees
  • Tolls for freeways, highways, and bridges
  • Electronic toll transponder
  • Business taxes and licenses
  • Floor mats
  • First aid kit
  • Tire inflator and pressure gauge
  • Portable battery jump pack
  • Flashlights and flares
  • Roadside assistance plans
  • Office supplies

 

We hope we’ve covered all of your Uber tax-related concerns. If you have any further questions, let us know in the comments!