Finance

Tax Benefits of Vehicle Expenses

Many of your business expenses can be deducted as business expenses. For example, car payments and depreciation are two of the many vehicle expenses you can write off. But did you know you can write off car payments, parking fees, and more? To find out more about the benefits of your vehicle expenses, check out mileiq.com.

Tax deductions for business vehicle expenses

In most cases, you can deduct some or all of the cost of your business vehicle from your tax return. This is because the IRS considers vehicle expenses as business expenses if they are more than 50 percent of the price of the car. To know how much you can deduct, multiply the actual expenses by 50 percent to arrive at a deduction amount. For example, if you drive a lot for work, you may be able to deduct up to 50 percent of your expenses.

You can take tax deductions for business vehicle expenses as long as the vehicle is used exclusively for business purposes during the year. However, you need to be aware that not all types of cars are eligible for tax deductions. If you have a new vehicle, you will want to use it as a business vehicle for at least one year during the year. Remember to consider that it cannot be used for personal use. The car must be put into service by December 31, which means that you’ll need to document your business use by December 31. In addition, you cannot deduct more than half of the net income generated by your business during the year.

There are two basic methods for determining whether business vehicle expenses can be deducted. One way includes the payment of an automobile loan. This method allows the owner to deduct the interest that accrues on loan. The other process involves the actual expenses for the vehicle. However, the latter approach can be beneficial if the costs are high. The best method depends on your vehicle usage. Generally, you can deduct only those expenses directly related to your business. 

Tax deductions for car payments

Unlike mortgages and other business expenses, car payments cannot be written off on your taxes. Instead, you must use the actual expense method to write off the car payments. While the monthly payment for a leased car is tax-deductible, the initial down payment cannot be written off. Instead, the money goes into the monthly lease payments and is not deductible as a lump sum. Tax deductions for car payments are not possible if you only use the car for business purposes.

For self-employed individuals, the interest on auto loans may be deductible. This depends on how many miles you drive for work. You must keep records to determine the amount of deduction. Writing off auto loan interest can reduce the cost of using your car for work. You should seek professional advice if you have questions about the number of deductions available for your vehicle payments.

Card payments can be deductible if they are directly related to your business. For example, many self-employed individuals use their cars for personal and business purposes. Therefore, you can deduct the portion of the car payments that correspond to your business use. For example, if you use your car for work 60% of the time, you can deduct the interest on only 60 percent of the auto loan. Therefore, if you can get a deduction for sixty percent of your car loan interest, you can write off half of it as a business expense.

Tax deductions for parking fees

For salaried employees, tax deductions for parking fees may be limited. Short-term and monthly parking fees are not eligible for removal, and employees cannot claim such expenses if they park at their employer’s office. But commission-based employees can claim parking expenses as a part of their job. For example, parking expenses may be incurred while employees spend time at work, drive to customers, or perform other employers’ duties. The employer must agree to reimburse these expenses if the employee uses the parking fee for work purposes.

To take advantage of tax deductions for parking expenses, employers must be able to distinguish between qualified parking and general public parking. This means employers will need to model various methods for determining the total amount of nondeductible parking expenses and find the best combination of ease of calculation and tax benefit. This guidance is included in Notice 2018-99, published annually by the Internal Revenue Service. While it does not apply to all parking expenses, it’s generally possible to claim them as a part of employee compensation if the employee pays for it.

The Internal Revenue Service proposes regulations to differentiate parking expenses for employees from those for customers or the general public. In the interim, the IRS is guiding Notice 2018-99. The Notice defines parking expenses as deductible or nondeductible, depending on the amount. Parking expenses associated with employees are deductible if they are in a qualified parking lot near the employer’s business premises or employees’ commute. The rules are complicated, and the regulations are constantly changing.