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Car Expenses You Can Deduct for Business Driving

Car Expenses You Can Deduct for Business Driving

Business owners benefit from driving themselves or their employees for business purposes because of the tax deduction it attracts. The IRS allows business owners to deduct their returns using either of two methods, whether the vehicle belongs to the employer or the employee. Thus, the IRS allows you to take actual expenses and standard mileage deductions. However, each method has some requirements and limitations from the IRS, and your circumstances also determine the necessary method.


Who qualifies?

The Internal Revenue Service expects taxpayers that qualify for the deduction to claim the return as:

  • Self-employed individuals. Sole proprietors and limited liability companies (LLCs) receive income tax and file returns through Tax Form 1040.

  • Certain types of employees. These are qualified artists, militia in the US military, and free-basis state or local government officials qualified to make the deduction.

  • People on voluntary work or medical appointments. However, their claim is limited to specific trip files with the itemization method on Schedule A.

What Counts as Deductible Vehicle Expenses?

Every business owner can make their deduction using actual expenses or standard mileage deductions for driving their truck or car. Also, individuals that use their vehicle for hire, like a taxi for Uber, can make the deduction.

Depreciation Expenses

According to the IRS, vehicles are listed property because they are used for personal and business reasons. As a result, vehicle owners can also deduct depreciation expenses because vehicles are assets that depreciate each year. 

However, you can only use depreciation deduction if the business owns the vehicle and consumes 50% of the vehicle usage. In addition, you can only benefit from the cost of business-related depreciation. In this case, you must use the actual deduction method.


Non-Deductible Expenses

You must distinguish the expenses into personal and business use, even if it is your business car or personal car. However, you cannot deduct personal expenses, expenses of driving to and from work, you cannot take business expenses from transporting materials, or deduct business phone calls. These expenses are not deductible because you’re using the vehicle for commuting. In addition, using your vehicle for advertisement is not a deductible expense.


Arriving at car expense deduction 

There are two methods of deduction but switching between both attracts a penalty.

1. Determines the purpose of the car

Business owners should use their mileage to notice the portion of the car used for business and personal purposes. However, the IRS sees commuting as a personal expense. The easiest way to keep tabs is through apps like Freshbooks Mobile or keep pictures of every mileage used for business purposes.

2. Calculating Mileage Deduction

You can choose the standard mileage and calculate your expense as follows:

Standard Mileage Deduction = business driving mileage  IRS standard mileage rate. You can also add non-commuting parking and tolls to get a better bonus.

The IRS has a fluctuating standard mileage rate set at $0.575.

So, for example, 

Luke will take a standard mileage deduction of $10, 925 if he had a business drive of 19,000 miles multiple by the deduction rate of $0.575. However, Luke didn't add toll or parking expenses. 

3. Choose the method with the highest deduction

The standard method is best when you have a close call on the numbers. The set standard mileage method allows you to easily switch between both methods without suffering much, unlike the latter, actual method. In addition, lessees can only change their deduction method after the leasing period. 

Where to report car business deduction

Business Owners should report their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule C. There is a guide on the IRS website on how to report your returns. In addition, partners and LLC report on Schedule E, employees use Form 2106, voluntary workers or medical appointees use Schedule A, personal deductions on Schedule A, and claim depreciation on Form 4562.