If you’re an Uber or Lyft driver, you may know that your taxes are changing in some pretty dramatic ways. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ushered in a number of tax savings, as well as a few limitations that aren’t so beneficial to your tax situation. You should consider these changes when you file your 2018 taxes this spring.
Jump in the Standard Deduction
Like other taxpayers, your standard deduction for your 2018 taxes will nearly double—from $6,350 to $12,000 for individuals, and from $12,700 to $24,000 for joint filers. This makes it more than likely that you won’t itemize your personal deductions because, for most taxpayers, itemizing won’t be as lucrative as simply taking the standard deduction.
Business Deductions Still Count
Even if you take the standard deduction and don’t itemize your personal deductions, you can still claim all eligible business deductions. Most Uber and Lyft drivers can deduct mileage, parking, tolls, food for passengers, a home office, and any other allowable expenses on Schedule C of their federal tax form.
You can deduct these expenses as long as they are “ordinary and necessary.” Make sure that you keep receipts and records of all transactions to support the deductions you claim.
20% Deduction on Pass-Through Income
In addition to the itemized business deductions noted above, the new tax law allows you to take a 20% deduction on what’s commonly called pass-through income. To take advantage of this pass-through deduction, you won’t need to do a single thing. As long as you report your rideshare income on your personal tax forms, you’ll be eligible for this deduction, up to $157,000 (filing single) and $315,000 (filing jointly).
Limited SALT Deduction
The new law places a $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions, including property taxes. This change will have the greatest impact on rideshare drivers who own a home in high property tax states like California and New York. These drivers will need to gauge whether or not they should itemize their personal (not business) deductions.
In most other states, rideshare drivers will likely choose to take the standard deduction over itemizing. That’s because, once they add up all the personal deductions they’re entitled to, including the $10,000 for SALT, they will discover that the standard deduction gives them a greater advantage than itemizing.
The deduction on pass-through income is set to expire on December 31, 2025, though it’s possible that Congress may revisit it at that time. Other changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may make health insurance more expensive and could drive up state and local taxes. So some of your tax savings may get wiped out elsewhere. Overall, though, the new law appears to benefit Uber and Lyft drivers at tax time.
For a more in-depth look at commonly deductible and nondeductible expenses for rideshare drivers, as well as other tax information, check out 1-800Accountant’s Tax Savings Calculator.