Could purchasing a vehicle reduce your taxes?
Are you considering purchasing a vehicle anytime soon, or have you already purchased one this year? Did you know that a business owner could receive tax benefits for buying a vehicle? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has set guidelines for business owners to claim these tax benefits under Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code. Before you start calling your local car dealership and start negotiating on a new Corvette, you need to understand that there are a few rules and limitations to this.
Section 179 of the U.S. internal revenue code allows businesses to take an immediate expense deduction on equipment, vehicles, and software for the given tax year. By utilizing Section 179, business owners can immediately reduce their tax burden, whereas capitalizing and then depreciating the asset will amount to smaller deductions over a longer period of time. For the fiscal year 2022, business owners can deduct up to $1,080,000 on qualifying equipment, and the limit on equipment purchases has increased to $2,700,000. Generally speaking, for a vehicle to qualify for the Section 179 tax deduction, there are rules you should keep in mind. One such rule is that the vehicle must be used at least 50% of the time for business-related purposes. Another limitation is that the Section 179 deduction cannot exceed your annual net taxable income, and the vehicle must be put into service or used for business purposes in the calendar year you buy it before December 31st. Vehicles can be categorized into two categories for tax benefits.
Millions of small businesses, independent contractors, and gig workers use small vehicles daily. The vehicles usually consist of passenger cars, crossovers, and small utility trucks. For a vehicle to be categorized as a small vehicle, it must weigh under 6,000 pounds and meet the rules mentioned earlier. The Section 179 deduction limit in the first year is $10,100 but can include bonus depreciation which will total the deduction to $18,100. However, the deduction allowance will be reduced if the vehicle is not used for business purposes 100% of the time, proportionate to its usage. For example, if the vehicle is used 75% of the time, the limit is $7,575 ($10,100 x .75).
A business vehicle must weigh at least 6,000 pounds and no more than 14,000 pounds to qualify as a heavy vehicle. Vehicles that fall under the heavy vehicles category consist of SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks. You can find the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which can be found on the vehicle manufacturer’s label or in the vehicle information package. Section 179 has a deduction cap of $25,000 for heavy vehicles, but business owners can utilize bonus depreciation along with their deduction if they qualify. It’s also important to note that you do not have to purchase a brand-new vehicle for the deduction. The tax deduction qualifies for used vehicles as long as it’s new to the business, and the deduction can also be applied to vehicles that are being financed. It’s best to consult a tax professional to see how much of the deductions you qualify for.
Bonus Depreciation might seem similar to Section 179, but the two have their differences. Broadly speaking, large businesses typically use bonus depreciation, which is meant to be taken after the Section 179 deductions. Section 179 rules tend to be more flexible with timing than bonus depreciation, as business owners can choose to depreciate the entire value of certain assets immediately or defer a portion for the next tax year. However, bonus depreciation is not capped in regard to dollars. Large businesses can deduct a single multi-million asset in a year. In contrast, under Section 179, businesses are limited to $1,080,000 for year 2022 based on $2,700,000 capital equipment spend. Each program offers different tax advantages to business owners, and depending on the tax year, business owners can choose which option works best for them, if not both. Remember that to claim the tax benefits of Section 179 and bonus depreciation; you will have to fill out form 4562, as Section 179 and bonus depreciation are not automatically applied. It’s best to consult with your tax advisor so you can choose the best strategy that can benefit you the most.